Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. The bread and butter of correction.
Ardmore's deficiencies against Gainesville were hopefully laid to rest with a practice week laced with specific tackling sessions.
In the Tigers' 27-8 loss to Gainesville, Ardmore's defense had several opportunities to take down ball carriers, but conceded four rushing touchdowns after initial contact.
The Tigers are hoping the defense comes back to form tonight against Southeast (1-2) at Homecoming at Noble Stadium.
"That's our main focus this week — to wrap up," junior defensive lineman Trey Baptiste said. "Coach Wendel has given us more time to do individual drills, wrapping up drills and kinda move that over to team (drills)."
Ardmore coach Douglas Wendel said after reviewing the tape, the Tigers were in the right positions on most plays. He said the results may be different in week 9 as opposed to week 3 because of more experience.
Wendel thought Gainesville may have had the best athletes Ardmore will see all season.
“There were three bad ones (plays); we were right in position and didn’t make the tackle,” Wendel said of last week. “They were stronger and they were more physical and they ran over us three times, but we were in position.
“Yes, it was bad, but only on three or four plays. I don’t feel like it was consistent all game. Having said that, we’ve had a tackling period every day in practice this week.”
The other glaring weakness in the Tigers’ game last week was red zone offense. On two occasions, Ardmore had drives stall on fourth down at the 6-yard line.
“I think it’s a different ball game if we go down there the first two times and we score, but that’s hindsight,” Wendel said.
Southeast brings a big defensive line to Noble Stadium, in addition to an offense that will throw the ball “60-65 percent of the time,” according to Wendel.
That serves as another challenge to an Ardmore secondary that’s been worn down by injury and personal issues. Junior defensive back D’Vron Roberts and freshman defensive back O.J. Walker will each miss tonight’s game.
Last week, sophomore Andrew Clark filled in at one corner spot, and Wendel talked about the addition of late arrival Kevion McGee to the rotation, who went through spring ball with the Tigers.
Southeast comes in with consecutive losses to Class 4A’s Clinton (50-14) and Star Spencer (21-12). The Spartans’ lone win came against U.S. Grant in week 1 (53-0).
Baptiste said the tone has been different entering the first week of district play.
Page 2 of 2 - “The intensity has been up a lot, not just defense but offense too,” Baptiste said. “They’re just stressing that it’s time to go play. It’s Homecoming, but it’s staying focused and doing what we need to do to get the win.”
Erik K. Horne