SPOTLIGHT: Why the CRAZY BIG numbers? Coaches have theories

PASSING PACESETTER:  Huntington quarterback Kam Evans has been stacking up prolific passing statistics throughout his career with the Raiders. (Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports)


If you took just their best single game in the last two weeks, the combination of Airline’s Ben Taylor, Huntington’s Kam Evans and Benton’s Gray Walters has thrown for 22 touchdowns and 1,429 yards. 

What’s crazier, no one seemed all that surprised by it. (Evans’ 500-yard game wasn’t even the first one of his career.)

If you’ve been paying attention to local high school football, it’s been headed in this direction for a long time.

The Shreveport-Bossier Journal convened a panel of seven experts – four current head coaches, two former coaches and a current defensive coordinator – and promised them anonymity to speak freely on why this is going on. As you might expect, Head Coach 1, Head Coach 2, Head Coach 3, Head Coach 4, Ex-Coach 1, Ex-Coach 2, and Defensive Coordinator have a variety of theories.


HEAD COACH #3: “You look at a school like Shreve that has started to win a lot of games in the last few years. They’ve got better athletes out there. Their (school population) numbers are up. Throwing the ball is a different skill set and you need more athletes.”

HEAD COACH #2: “Some of these guys are throwing when they are way ahead in the fourth quarter. And it’s against bad teams.”

EX-COACH #1: “You get offensive-minded, these younger coaches who are stat-driven and just try to outscore people, and they don’t even play defense. None of these teams are winning championships. But it is entertaining to watch.”

HEAD COACH #1: “Some coaches have the mentality that it doesn’t matter if you score 50, we are going to try to score 55.”

HEAD COACH #4: “Used to be, you’d run 40 plays a game on offense. The other night, we ran 69. That’s probably a little bit of it, too.”


HC #1: “When you put 11 (players) on the field, there’s going to be a weakness. Evangel started this and if you have a quarterback who can move the ball, you can find their weakness. At any school, it’s rare you are going to have five (defensive backs) who can cover. There is no preparation for a spread team. You are trying to hide your worst guy and they are trying to find him.”

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: “Coaches are doing a great job of aligning these receivers in different places and using tons of formations and motions to manipulate defenses. A lot of these great receivers are lining up as a slot, a tight end, out wide, or as a running back and getting matchups on linebackers and safeties that are also in conflict with the run.”

EX-COACH #2: “At this time of year, there are teams that have had some injuries and maybe these defensive backfields aren’t as talented as they were at the start of the year.”

HC #2: “There are a lot of good coaches around here. A lot more than there used to be. You can’t hide bad players anymore. That’s what we are going to do. We are going to pick out the worst guy on the team and pick on him all night long.”


HC #2: “A lot of schools are putting their best players on offense and not defense. Used to be, defense was priority and it’s totally opposite now.”

HC #3: “It’s not one great receiver people are having to defend. It’s three. The quarterbacks are mobile. There are running backs coming out of the backfield. I just think there’s too many things to account for.”

HC #4: “Kids don’t want to be defensive backs. They want to catch passes and score touchdowns and do dances in the end zone. You almost have to talk them into playing defense.”

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: “It’s very hard at the high school level to field five offensive skill guys that can make plays and still have enough guys left that can play man coverage all night too, so you’re seeing huge nights due to a combination of all these things.”

HC #4: “Honestly, I think defense has gotten worse at tackling. You do very, very little full-contact practice. You get a lot of quick passes that turn into big gains because of poor tackling.”


HC #1: “The rules have gone to high-scoring games. You can’t hit the quarterback. You can’t make receivers pay running over the middle. It’s like basketball now; you almost have to let them pass then defend them.”

EX-COACH #1: “You can be successful with RPOs (run-pass options) if the officials let you do it the way the offenses want to do it. They don’t like to call it, but the offensive linemen are upfield blocking linebackers. If they allow that to happen you can’t stop it.”


HC #4: “I think in this area we have one of the most talented crops of quarterbacks we’ve ever had. I mean, nobody ever talks about our guy and he’s one of the best we’ve ever had.”

EX-COACH #2: “You’ve got a lot of these quarterbacks who have a lot of experience. Most of them are two- and three-year starters.”

HC #2: “The RPOs are a big deal. That’s like cheating.”

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: “Defenses are having to play more man because it takes the defenders’ eyes out of the backfield and places them directly on the receivers. In zone you’re in a bind because receivers do a better job of sitting their routes down in holes, and RPOs are making those voids in zones bigger by sucking the linebackers and safeties in, creating gaps between the second-level guys and deep zone guys.”

EX-COACH #1: “A lot of people are putting their best athlete at quarterback. It makes it a lot harder to defend when you have a guy who can run or throw and you have to defend in space. Even if you cover their receivers, he can take off and run with it.”

HC #3: “I think there are some defensive coordinators who can stop the wishbone or the I or the wing T. But now, it’s the RPO and instead of me having to guess what (defense) they are going to be in, the quarterback can make one call and it doesn’t matter what they are in. He’s reading one guy. If that guy sits back, it’s a run. If he comes, it’s a pass.”

EX-COACH 2: “It’s really difficult for defensive coaches to stop the run game unless you have a great defensive line with four guys and get pressure on the quarterback. A lot of defensive coordinators have to pick their poison – ‘Am I going to stop the run or the pass?’”

HC #4: “It’s gotten more sophisticated, but also a lot simpler with RPOs. Teams are calling run plays and end up passing. Quarterbacks are making reads and taking what the defense gives them. And there’s more ability to get out of bad plays and into a good play.”

HC #3: “Coaches are teaching quarterbacks better and trusting them with more things. Plus anytime you have this much specialized training, guys are going to be better. They just are. It’s almost cheating when you can put a quarterback on the field who can think like you do as a coach.”

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