Fort Dale unveiling #039;Gulf Coast offense#039;

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

Offenses tend to have catchy names.

The Atlanta Falcons had the Red Gun offense.

The Florida Gators had the Fun and Gun offense.

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The San Francisco 49ers introduced the West Coast offense.

Now the Fort Dale Academy Eagles are spreading their wings and their offense by incorporating two offenses — the spread and the single wing.

"Coach Clint (Lowery) has coined it the Gulf Coast offense," said Fort Dale head coach James "Speed" Sampley. "If they can have the West Coast offense, then we can have the Gulf Coast offense."

Since Sampley has been at the helm of Fort Dale's football program, the Eagles have traditionally been a power rushing football team. Rarely did the football see much air time unless it was off the toe of an Eagle punter or place kicker.

"We are going to try to run a power running game out of a shotgun formation and throw it about 20 times a night," Sampley explained. "So it's not really the spread, It's like the single wing, just spread out."

Starting Thursday, Fort Dale will begin work on its Gulf Coast offense with two-a-day workouts.

The Eagles will work on the passing game for two hours in the morning and then return in the afternoon to work on the running game and defense, Sampley said.

While trying to teach a new offense, Sampley will try to build depth in key areas like quarterback and tailback.

Casey Weston looks to be the Eagles' starting quarterback, but Sampley knows he will need a good backup and third-string quarterback for this offense.

The quarterback typically doesn't do much blocking in very many offensive schemes, but not with the Gulf Coast offense.

"With this offense, Casey (Weston) is our lead blocker," Sampley explained.

Brady Newton looks to be the Eagles' backup, but Sampley said the search for a third-string quarterback will get underway when practice begins.

While Sampley will have his team go through two-a-day workouts to begin the fall practice slate, Crenshaw Christian Academy coach Roland Jones will take a lighter approach to the beginning of fall drills.

Jones said that the Cougars will go through five days of non-contact drills.

"The numbers are few with us, so I don't need to get where no one can play," Jones said. "We'll get in a lot of conditioning and fundamental work during that time."

Jones may also use the time to find some starters along his offensive front. Three starters graduated and another starting lineman quit, so the Cougars will certainly have a young and inexperienced front.

"We had a few get a taste of what starting along the offensive line was line in the spring," Jones said. "We'll spend the non-contact days with the line to get their footwork down before putting the pads on."

And how well a new offensive line gels may determine if the Cougars earn a return trip to the playoffs.

All of Crenshaw Christian Academy's skill position players return from last season's 7-4 squad with the addition of starting tailback McDonald, who transferred from Greenville High.

"If those six (returning starters) and some of our young linemen step up, then we have a chance to do well this season," Jones said.

Lowndes Academy also is looking to return to the playoffs and it will hinge on a young offensive line and leadership.

"We've got a lot of potential, but our young linemen are going to have to come along," said Rebels coach Art Sullivan.

Lowndes advanced to the semifinals in the Class A playoffs before falling to Shelby Academy. Sullivan said that senior leadership had a lot to do with the Rebels going as deep in the playoffs as they did.

"Our senior leadership was what carried us last year," Sullivan said. "If we get that, then we'll be OK. We only have three seniors this year, so that leadership will also have to come from the junior class."

Unlike most of the schools within the Alabama Independent School Association, Lowndes will not begin formal fall drills until 5 a.m. Monday. The Rebels will conduct two-a-days that week with little to no contact.

"We're going to do a lot of learning first and not worry about contact until maybe the next week," Sullivan said.