The Rock Bridge Bruins offense has multiple personalities.
There is the one that returned a talented crop of juniors with a year more experience ready to become one of the most explosive offenses in the state. On the other side though, is one that looks nervous and inexperienced and seems to struggle at the beginning of games.
In the Bruins’ first two games this season, the offense began the game by going three-and-out, including last week against Smith-Cotton when the Bruins picked up only one first down in their first two possessions. Hardly the start you would expect from a team that scored a combined 74 points in its first two victories.
Coach A.J. Ofodile had no explanation for the slow starts.
“I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “We start slow, we start slow. We just don’t execute well and get sputtered early.”
Ofodile also said if the slow starts continue, it could ultimately cost the Bruins a victory. Junior quarterback Logan Gray said he thinks the offense needs to change its approach at the beginning of games.
“I think we come out kind of nervous and feel like we need to score on every play,” Gray said. “Then we get settled down, take things in and just let the big plays come.”
For almost any football team, the offense goes as its quarterback goes. Last week against Smith-Cotton, Gray looked out of rhythm early, missing on his first several throws.
“It just took me a few throws to get into it,” Gray said.
One thing that seems to turn the Bruins’ offense from the Chicago Bears to the Indianapolis Colts is a big play by the defense.
In week one against Marshall, it was a turnover. Last week, it was a fourth-down stop. In both games, after those plays, the offense scored on the next drive.
“Sometimes if you are a little tense coming into a game, getting one big play can loosen you up,” Ofodile said.
Last week, the Bruins showed their explosiveness when they scored 20 points in the final three minutes of the first quarter after being held scoreless the first nine minutes of the game. Rock Bridge finished the first half leading 41-0 with 420 yards of total offense and 11 first downs. If the Bruins hope to contend for a state championship, they will need that experienced, explosive part of its personality to take over.
GRAY CLASS 6 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Gray was named the Class 6 Player of the Week by mosports.com, a high school sports Web site on the rivals.com network. Gray earned the award as a result of his first-half performance against Smith-Cotton last week. Gray and the Bruins may not have started the game well, but they finished the first half with 41 points as the Bruins improved to 2-0. Gray finished the half completing 8-of-12 passes for 219 yards and four passing touchdowns while also adding a rushing touchdown. For the season, Gray has thrown for 478 yards and six touchdowns.