NEW BRITAIN - If there was one thing for the New Britain football team to harp about over the week of preparation, it was defense. A disappointing 30-22 loss to Conard in Week 1 made sure of that.
Now, as the Hurricanes get ready for their first road game of the season against Manchester, head coach Tebucky Jones issued a statement similar to the one he made throughout last year.
“The biggest thing is basically doing your job,” the head coach said. “When you’re supposed to be down, you’re down and when you’re supposed to be in the middle, you’re in the middle and that was where a lot of the problems were.”
New Britain will have to sure up its defense against an Indians team that proved capable of putting points up on the scoreboard in their 47-27 season-opening win against Enfield despite a new quarterback and running back. Gone are quarterback Edison Galan and running back Jakal Westberry, although receiver Jevin Frett still remains a concern.
If anything, the Hurricanes believe Manchester is better than it was a year ago. But New Britain expects to see many of the same plays as it has in the past, especially the occasional trick play.
“They haven’t really changed up a lot of their scheme,” Hurricanes senior corner Jayshawn Alexandre said. “They like to do sweeps, screens. It won’t be anything different they’ll be throwing at us that we haven’t seen.”
As much as the defense has been a focal point this week, New Britain will need its offense to perform just as well. The Hurricanes failed to score a point in the first half last Friday despite three drives reaching the opposing 25-yard line, two of which were inside the 10. They know they have to take better advantage of scoring opportunities, especially once they get in the red zone, if they want to be competitive game-in and game-out.
“Offense has to continue progressing,” Jones said. “I thought the offensive line did a pretty good job. Our quarterback [Jahfari Newman] only got sacked once. They just have to build off that and receivers have to catch the ball. There were a lot of dropped balls. They had the opportunities.”
Both Jones and Alexandre noted Manchester prefers to have its defenders drop deep in coverage in its 3-5-3 defense, leaving the short and intermediate routes open for an opposing team to dink and dunk the Indians, something that should work in New Britain’s favor considering the success it had in that area last week against Conard.
As always, it will just be a matter of how the Hurricanes execute, particularly in the passing game.
“I feel like our receivers have to develop a better relationship with the quarterback,” Alexandre said. “We have a great relationship already, but it’s a whole new group. Jahfari is still feeling us out. All we have to do is continue to build that relationship and that starts in practice. Our running game was great last week. We just have to keep continuing to get better and making our reads and we’ll be fine offensively.”
One thing is certain, it will take a better team effort to come out with a win tonight.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach