COFFEYVILLE, Kan. - More positive things happened than negative during an impromptu scrimmage Friday night between the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen and the Coffeyville Community College Red Ravens.
“Early Friday morning Coach Dulin (first year head coach Darian Dulin) called and said they had a cancellation for a scrimmage,” Golden Norse head coach Rob Green said. “He asked me if we would be interested.
“Since Independence had cancelled on us the day before, I though it would be a good opportunity for us to get in some work,” Green said. “So we both agreed and it was a very enjoyable situation for our kids.”
Playing two full quarters at normal speed with a full set of officials and a game clock, the scrimmage also included a 15-minute quarter with a running clock.
“If they were keeping score (which they didn't), I would have to say that Coffeyville outscored us by a 13-10 margin,” Green said. “But, we had an interception for a touchdown called back because we were off sides on defense.
“Our ability to work on the little things of game management that you don't normally get to work on in practice was tremendous,” Green said.
“We got to develop such things as substitution patterns, the pace of our no-huddle offense and who should be where and when,” Green said. “These are things that we don't pay a lot of attention to in practice that usually surface during the first couple of games.”
Another aspect that caught Green's attention was the class and professionalism Dulin, his staff and players exhibited during the scrimmage.
“Everything Coach Dulin and his staff did was done with class,” Green said. “After all, this was NEO versus Coffeyville which traditionally has been one of the most heated rivalries in all of junior college football.
“But, neither team were flagged for personal fouls,” Green said. “It was just a well-run scrimmage by both sides.”
Offensively, Green and his staff were pleased with the fact that the Norsemen were able to execute in a game-type environment.
“Even though we've got some redshirts, we've got a lot of young kids that needed to be exposed to the speed of the game,” Green said. “You can't replicate that in a practice environment.
“We moved the ball pretty consistently,” Green said. “But we had a couple of situations where be bogged down in the red zone and didn't get any points.”
With the loss of quarterback Cole Frederick (6-1, 210 of Houston Christian), the four remaining candidates continued to battle for the starting job. Frederick, a sophomore transfer from Texas Christian University, decided to return to Houston.
“All four of our quarterbacks got quite a few reps in the scrimmage,” Green said. “Right now it's too close to call as to who will start next week at Hutchinson. We'll complete our evaluation and have a starter by early next week.
“Our first rule for our quarterbacks is ‘don't get us beat,'”, Green said. “Each one of them are competitors and so they tried to make things happen during the scrimmage.
“They've got to learn the difference between throwing slant routes in high school and trying to throw them at this level,” Green said. “It was an eye-opener for all four of them.
“Our running game was adequate, but here again, we had some blocking scheme breakdowns that stopped our progress,” Green said. “But those things are correctable.”
Green was equally as pleased with the Golden Norse defensive unit.
“We really played well defensively,” Green said. “They busted a big play up the middle and broke to the outside for a touchdown after we lost over pursued.
The Golden Norsemen were without two starting defensive tackles. Sophomore John White (6-3, 280 of Moore) has been sidelined for a week with a concussion while transfer Bobby Aduocha (6-4, 318 of Putnam City North) just joined the team on Thursday. Aduocha came to NEO from Texas Tech.
NEO opens the regular season next Saturday with a 7 p.m. contest against Hutchinson Community College at Gowans Stadium.