James: Hornets need to find identity on offense

Photo by Rick Nation

It may have turned out to be a lopsided loss to the top-ranked team in the state but, after looking at the game film, Bryant head coach Buck James saw some good things from his Hornets.

“I thought we played better,” he said. “I know the score doesn’t show it but we played better. We just had too many mistakes, two fumbles and a blocked punt and a snap over the head (of the punter).

“We’ve got to find what we’re good at,” the coach added. “We’ve got plenty of stuff in. We’ve just got to do what we do. And do it well. I think that will help us a lot. If we can keep improving each week, it makes a big difference.

“It’s all relative to how good a team we’re playing that week but, if we keep improving, eventually we will get where we want to get to,” he said. “That’s the way our kids and our coaching staff have got to look at it.”

The Hornets play their final non-conference game this Friday at Lake Hamilton, an old South Conference rival.

“We’ve got to keep improving offensively,” James emphasized. “We’ve got to score points. I think, defensively, we’re playing well enough to be in most games. But offensively, we’ve got to improve and it starts up front. You know, the quarterback looks bad if the offensive line doesn’t block well. The running back looks bad, the receivers look bad.

“It’s not the offensive linemen’s fault,” he asserted. “We’ve had injuries. We’ve had a lot of new guys. We’ve had a lot of different starters. We had two starting the other night that had never started a high school game in their lives.”

In the team’s two games, the offense has averaged 190 yards of offense and has scored 10 points in each game.

“We’ve got to continue improving,” James reiterated. “We’re young and, where we’re not young, we’re inexperienced. And it shows on the offensive side of the ball. We’ve got a lot of veterans back on defense and that’s why we’re playing better. But, on the offensive side, we’ve got a lot of unknowns.

“Fayetteville had a lot of veterans and really only had a head coaching change for the most part,” he noted. “So everything sort of stayed in place. We’re still learning the kids.

In Lake Hamilton, the Hornets will be facing a team that’s made more radical changes with their new head coach Jeremy Reed, who is new to Arkansas after coaching in Oklahoma.

James, understandably, is more concerned about his own team’s progress.

“We’ve got to find our identity,” he stated. “We’ve got to find what we’re good at. And we’ve got to be able to do it, because what we do on the practice field is not necessarily what we’re carrying to the game field.”

He allowed that some of the problem with that has been that what they’ve scouted of their opponents hasn’t been what they’ve been getting.

“We haven’t seen a defense yet that we’ve worked on in practice when we get to the game field,” he explained. “What we’ve worked on, what the teams have shown prior to us playing them, they’ve changed when we go to playing the game.

“I guess the word’s out, is what I’m saying, that they know how to stop or confuse what we do,” James said. “We’ve seen it all now. There’s not anything that we could see that we haven’t seen. So, it’s on us now if we don’t get it learned and get it where we can execute it.”

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