Dan Hinds fell into his own trap.
The Desert Vista offense has become so proficient with its power running game that Hinds, admittedly, probably hasn’t called the Thunder’s signature play often enough.
The fly sweep — whether it was a Luke Matthews, Allante Battle or Mike Ingrassia — over the years was used to getting the team’s playmaking wide receivers in open space for big plays and to weaken the middle of the defense.
“We need to get back to the fly sweep,” Hinds said. “I should have thought about that earlier (against Hamilton last week.) Hamilton said they were going to stop the power game and they did. We have to a better job of opening it up.”
Since about mid-season of 2011 the frequency of the play being called has dipped, and to some degree rightfully so.
With big backs Michael Arredondo, Dominick Kereluk and Jarek Hilgers and a physical offensive line pounding people, the between the tackles action worked well as the team rushed for the second most yards (3,044) in school history. It was much of the same this year with Zach Gonzalez and Hilgers lining up eight yards behind nearly the same offensive line.
“The yards are there,” said senior offensive tackle Zack Tamburo, who will miss the game with a high-ankle sprain. “We haven’t been consistent with our execution. We miss a block or a hole it stops a drive. We didn’t do a lot of that last year.”
The Thunder (5-2) offense is still doing well, rushing for about 225 yards a game entering Friday’s home game against Mesquite (1-6), but it seems to be still evolving after losing so many skills players from a year ago considering the quarterback and two leading rushers moved on to college.
Senior quarterback Matt Young brings a new dimension as well with his ability to make defenders miss along with a strong arm.
The move away from the fly sweep hasn’t bothered senior Kaleb Germinaro as much as he is disappointed in himself for not breaking the big one on his 20 attempts as his longest run on the year is 16 yards.
“I understand we have really good running backs and a quarterback who can run,” said Germinaro, who also has a team-high 15 catches. “We really haven’t hit it yet, but I think we will soon.”
Hinds, who does the offensive play calling, said Young’s emergence as a running threat has taken away some of the need to run the fly and gives the defense something else to think about.
“(Young) hurt Hamilton and it is another thing (the opposition) has to prepare for,” he said. “They can’t cover everything. We have everything in place. It’s a matter of finding the right combination.”
Of course, there was no concern when the team piled up an average of 282 yards a game in the four games leading up to the Hamilton loss.
Hinds kind of got lost in his play sheet and was maybe too stubborn last week as he kept with the power game instead of switching it up a little bit.
“True leaders have to take the blame,” he said. “I am the coach here. I did not coach my best game. Our best game is still out there and we are chasing it.”
And getting there just might have to include the defenders chasing Germinaro or another fly sweep contributor down the sidelines.
“If we play well we can play with anybody in the state,” Hinds said. “We haven’t put a whole game together. The defense and special teams played well (against Hamilton), but the offense wasn’t there. We have three more weeks to get it together.”
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