New look Rebels prep for ‘08
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
Riverside will have a distinctly new look this season, both on the field and on the sidelines.
The Rebels boast new faces at quarterback, running back, and head coach, where Tim Taffi has succeeded Mickey Roussel, who stepped down after last season.
The biggest change noticeable to Riverside followers this coming season will likely be the team’s new offense, the Wing-T, which Taffi has begun installing this spring.
“We think it fits our personnel the best, and it’s the system that I’m the most familiar with,” said Taffi.
That personnel has undergone some heavy changes already from a year ago. While the returning offensive line is largely a veteran unit, the team must adjust to the losses of running back Jarid Caesar and quarterback Jade Falgoust.
Taffi believes that the Wing-T attack could help that transition considerably.
“I don’t think you look to simply replace those guys,” said Taffi. “I think people look at this system and say it’s one of only a few plays. It’s really a four back attack, one designed to move the football.
“We’ll spread it around. It makes it hard to key on one or two guys.”
Bobby Smith has moved from wide receiver to quarterback this spring, something Taffi says the senior-to-be has taken to quite well.
“He’s done a real good job, considering he’s never played the position before,” said Taffi. “We implemented a veer package and he’s picked it up real well already.”
Joining him in the backfield will be backs Remi Poirrier, Jake Roussel and Lloyd Johnson.
Defensively, Taffi says he likes what he’s seen through a spring that was capped by a 6-0 scrimmage loss to Grace King – a real defensive slugfest.
“We have to be physical, especially on defense,” he said. “The last couple of years, I feel like we lacked that. Hopefully, this early trend continues.”
As was the case last season, there are no easy nights in District 10-2A, in which state championship game participants John Curtis and St. James and Newman await the Rebels, as well as Newman and Fisher.
“That’s difficult to totally prepare for, unless you just play a lot of heavy-hitters early” said Taffi. “It’s difficult to do unless we call Acadiana, Evangel, West Monroe. We just want to be competitive in pre-district, give our young guys some playing time and pick up some wins.”