PLYMOUTH — While it’s unlikely that either team will ditch the playbook for a new one this week, the approach to this weeks version of Plymouth vs. NorthWood will be different mostly from the mental approach.
“This is a first for us,” said Plymouth Head Coach John Barron. “We’ve never played a team back to back. We’ve played them two or three weeks apart but never back to back. As a (coaching) staff we just went through film, looked at the things we did well, looked at the things they did well, thought about what we think they might change and came up with a plan.
“As far as the kids we’ve stressed to them that this is going to be on a different field, they’ll be wearing different color jerseys, we’ll be wearing different colored jerseys, it’s not exactly the same. Which I like.”
Game time will also be a half hour earlier at Jim Andrews Field in Nappanee — a 7 p.m. start — and the smart money would be the score will also be different. NorthWood is traditionally very hard to beat at home and likely wanting to avenge a victory last week by the Rockies.
“The thing that’s going to keep our guys grounded is how they scored,” said Barron. “How explosive they can be should have the attention of our defensive guys at least. They had some very big plays last week, but I still think they want to run the ball and run some option. Scott (Hoover) is a great coach and he has a great staff, and I know he’s going to make some adjustments to try to take advantage of things he saw last week.”
Beginning the “one and done” tournament season also causes some adjustments to the practice schedule.
“Our JV and Freshman teams don’t have games to prepare for so they have to adjust to their role of getting our varsity kids ready to play,” said Barron. “We’ll still use Monday as our conditioning day when kids work on football skills, Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll do some ‘one’s against one’s’ defensively anyway. We really don’t need to see how hard Sam (Stevens) will run the ball at this point or how hard our line will block, so the work is mostly for our defensive guys.”
Injuries from several weeks ago have had the time to heal and the Rockies should be at full strength on Friday.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been in awhile and it’s good to have Ike back,” said Barron. “It depends on how they defend us but with him in there it gives us the ability to throw the ball downfield if we want. I was proud of (Jack Barron) last week, you never know what a young kid is going to do, but I thought he had a lot of composure and our older kids really took care of him and that’s a nice security blanket.
“We have some depth, we have guys competing for spots and playing at a high level and that’s good for our football team because when kids get hurt you can still compete. Hopefully we’ll have Ike in there for a few more weeks.”
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