Jacksonville Daily Progress
The best way to sum up Rusk's first scrimmage of the fall, which took place against Diboll on Friday, would be to say the good exceeded the bad.
Eagle head coach Ted Patton seemed particularly happy about how the Eagles' newly forged 4-2-5 “Black Wall” defense played in its first test against a live opponent.
“I thought our defense performed really well, especially since this was the first test since we installed the new schemes,” he said Monday morning. “The only first down that our defense gave up was on a penalty and the kids played at a high level and with a lot of energy.”
With heavy losses to graduation on the offensive side, the Eagles are placing a premium on defense this year.
In fact, Patton brought in Robby May from Prosper in the off season to serve as the Eagles' defensive coordinator.
All systems appear to be on go at this point, with the introduction of the TCU-styled defense.
“I think we still have some things to tweak and we are expecting to get a much tougher test Thursday when we scrimmage Tatum, but we like what we see so far.”
Shifting gears to the offense now, Rusk moved the ball up and down the field well, but struggled to cash in once inside the red zone, according to Patton.
“Our first team (offense) scored, but the play was called back due to a penalty and the second team ended up getting the winning score for us,” Patton said. “We moved the ball well, but we didn't do a good job in getting the ball into the end zone.
“We've got to get better in that department, there's no question.”
Patton said a couple of mental lapses and penalties also hurt his offense's chances to score more points.
“With so many new kids on the offensive side, mistakes are going to happen,” Patton said. “So, while we were not surprised by this, we know that we have to get better each and everyday.”
The Eagles will host a formidable Tatum team at 5 p.m. Thursday as the exhibition comes to a close.
Tatum, a member of District 9-2A-I, finished 9-3 last year and are ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Class 2A preseason poll.
Rusk will kickoff the regular season at 7:30 p.m. On Aug. 30 by visiting Class 4-A Terrell.
NOTE: Rusk defensive assistant coach Stephen Hodge, a former TCU standout at strong safety, is a graduate of Tatum High School...Hodge was a sixth round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys, but his professional career ended early due to injuries.