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Three questions: Stafford

STAFFORD INDIANS

Coach: Chad Lewis (ninth season)

Last year’s record: 3­-7

Last playoff season: 2010

STAFFORD HAS JUST SEVEN STARTERS BACK. IS THIS THE DEEPEST REBUILD THE INDIANS HAVE HAD TO MAKE IN THE LAST NINE YEARS?

Lewis said that three years ago the Indians faced a similar situation and had to play a lot of new faces. But he has optimism—the players have put in the work this offseason.

“Right now, we’re so young, it’s not like there are any egos,” Lewis said. “It’s a fun team to coach with kids who are working well together and playing hard.”

Two-way starter Richard Thomas is one of Lewis’ favorite examples. The lineman didn’t play much as a freshman but slowly improved to a starting spot on varsity last year. Thomas had a great offseason and Lewis thinks he’ll be the Indians’ most reliable blocker this year.

“He worked his butt off again this year,” Lewis said. “We’re expecting good things from him this year.”

WITH SO MANY NEW FACES, WHO WILL STAFFORD COUNT ON TO BE A LEADER THIS YEAR?

Quarterback Billy Bolinsky—along with some other seniors—was the vocal leader last year, Lewis said, and did a good job keeping the Indians together. And Dashawn Harris was the leads-with-his-play guy last year, giving the Indians a great offensive weapon.

Both are gone this season.

“We’ve got to find that kid,” Lewis said. “We’ve got a couple of kids who have been leaders by example. Now we’re looking for a couple of more vocal kids.”

And the yards and power Harris provided?

“That was the thing last year: Teams knew if they stopped Dashawn, they stopped us,” Lewis said. “We’re hoping this year—we don’t have that one kid like he was—but we’re hoping we have more weapons around the field.”

STAFFORD’S OFFENSIVE GAMEPLAN HAS ALWAYS VARIED FROM YEAR TO YEAR. WHAT WILL THE INDIANS LOOK LIKE THIS YEAR?

Rather than be wed to one scheme or one philosophy, Lewis has always tried to run an offense suited to whatever talent he has in a given season.

Last year, with Bolinsky’s power running style, the Indians ran a lot of option and plays designed to give Bolinksy a shot.

This year, quarterback Garrett Cropp is more a prototypical quarterback. He has pocket presence and throws a good ball. And Cropp is more of an athletic runner, as opposed to Bolinsky’s in-your-face style. So the Indians will run more spread, hoping to get the ball to whatever playmakers they can.

“Of course we want to be balanced,” Lewis said. “But our goal is to find what works for us. Garrett has a good arm and we have some receivers who can catch the ball. We want to be balanced, but if we’re better throwing the ball, that’s what we’re going to do.”

–Justin Rice

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/hsfb/2013/08/25/three-questions-stafford/

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