It took a few games for the Mosley offense to find a rhythym, but coach Jeremy Brown was encouraged by what he saw out of the Dolphins in a 35-21 loss to Wakulla on Friday.
“We got first downs,” Brown said. “We put some drives together. We put some six, seven, eight-play drives together that we wound up punting, but we were able to flip the field.”
The timing couldn’t be better with the Dolphins (1-2) beginning district play against Pace (0-2) on Friday night at Tommy Oliver Stadium.
Receiver Nyjah Gray stole the spotlight last week when he caught four passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns, but Brown also took note of his offensive line.
His starting five: Derrick Schlehuber, Jacob Broom, Najeeb Yousef, Jay Moody, and Adrein Strickland, and tight end Ryan Stephenson, got off the ball and created space for the rest of the offense.
“Those guys, they probably get coached harder than anybody because, as an offensive line coach by trade, I have very high expectations for those kids,” Brown said. “And I expect them to play at a physical, nasty type level that is hard for them sometimes. So they get constant coaching by coach Brown and sometimes as the head coach it’s a little bit tougher, but they've responded.”
Although not technically a starter, Brown is also pleased with the performance he’s seen out of Solomon Holman.
“He’s had some games where he had to come in two or three times when the center had to come out,” Brown said. “He’s done a great job. He’s a very, very football smart kid.”
On Friday, there’s a good chance Holman will get the start in place of Strickland who will likely be a game-time decision after missing time this week due to illness.
Whoever starts for the Dolphins will have to ready to match Pace’s physicality.
“They’re making their pressure on defense, they slant every play, they’re bringing linebackers from all over the place,” Brown said. “Hoping they can get you in second and third-and-long and maybe get you to panic and make a mistake.”
Brown isn’t expecting a high-flying offense on Friday. Pace is going to play a similar style of football to the Dolphins. They want to run the ball often and wait on those mistakes to happen that will give the team a short field to work with.
That stats through Pace’s two games bear that out. Pace quarterback Brandon Miller has completed only 10 of 26 passes for 120 yards, but he’s carried the football 32 times for an average of 2.6 yards per carry.
His teammate Tyler Hunter has carried the ball 49 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. That’s an average of 2.7 yards per rush. Not exactly efficient, but Brown said Pace is willing to play the long game.
That’s why it’s so important for his offensive line to play well and keep the Mosley offense out on the field as long as possible.
If one of those guys does get beat by a defender, Brown said they need to shake it off quick. The coach said he has watched other teams struggle with turnovers once Pace’s defense establishes itself.
“You’re four games into this thing, there’s no more excuses,” Brown said. “You’re four games into this thing, you expect those guys to start becoming coaches on the field. Start making some adjustments, some in-game adjustments on their own, communicating with each other.”