The Athens Hornets look to get back on the winning track Friday at Bruce Field.
Coach Zac Harrell has the Hornets getting ready for a meeting with the Henderson Lions in what could be a nasty weather game. When it comes to planning the play calling, Harrell said it doesn’t change things for them.
“We kind of try to control what we can control,” Harrell said. “We can’t control the weather and we know if it is a pouring down rain game, that does dictate our play calls a little bit. We will lean more to the run game, which with our offense we feel like we can be successful in either part of the game. We have great run packages and will use them a little more if it is that part of the game.”
Henderson has a new coach in Othell Robinson, who took over for Phil Castles in the summer. The Lions are 3-1 overall and have outscored opponents 139-103 in the four games.
Harrell said fans can expect to see a 50-50 team offensively in the Lions this week. He sees similarities between his team and the Lions.
“They are a good football team and I am going to say that for the next six weeks,” Harrell said. “Coach Robinson has done a great job of coming in there and getting those kids to play really hard. He has brought two really good players with him that also have the last name Robinson. Their quarterback is his son in Jacobe Robinson and is a very talented quarterback. He started at Crowley as a sophomore. He can extend the play and make plays with his feet.
“Their best receiver is his twin brother in Jamal Robinson. They will move him around and try to get him the ball in different areas. They are really talented and they present a great challenge this week.”
Fans can also expect to see some changes defensively in the rematch this year.
“They are an even front and in the past, they used every front you could get in,” Harrell said. “They are a big blitz team and want to bring pressure from a lot of different areas. They are going to play different coverages behind that blitz and so we have to do a great job on our pass protection in identifying the blitzers. This is a huge week for us and a great challenge because these guys are bigger, more physical and probably quicker than last week.”
He said Henderson’s best defensive lineman is Devin Fields, who is a returner from last year’s team.
“He causes a lot of problems and I think he is their best player on defense,” Harrell said. “We have to know where he is at this week.
In last week’s 57-21 loss, Harrell addressed how shell shocked the guys were at the start of the game. He said the coaches have to do a better job of executing plays so that doesn’t happen again.
“My first thoughts are and we told the kids this on Monday is that the game did not go the way we wanted it to. The start was really bad and you have to give Chapel Hill a lot of credit,” Harrell said. “They came out and executed the plan. I thought our kids were ready to play and I thought we were emotionally ready and had a great week of practice. We get out there and things happened in that game and in a hurry things didn’t go our way. It shell shocked us for a little bit.”
Harrell said the one loss is not how they will have their season play out. He said when it comes to the word of the week and his keys, it is another big week.
“Our word of the week is respond,” Harrell said. “We have to respond to what happened last week and we have to get better from it. Our keys are we have to contain the quarterback, Offensively all 11 guys have to do their job and execute consistently, we have to win the turnover battle, we have to play physical and answer the challenge. We have to outmatch their physicality this week and I am looking forward to being at home.”
Athens (4-1, 0-1) is open next week and returns to action Friday, Oct. 15 at Lindale. Kickoff for that game is set for 7:30 p.m.
NOTE: To listen to the entire interview, check out the Coaches Corner Podcast on our social media pages and check out the Sideline Review in Tuesday’s printed edition of the Athens Daily Review.