Saturday, July 16, 2005
Trailblazers' defensive backs prepare for tough passing game
by By Max DelSignore, Times Sports Writer
First published: Saturday, July 16, 2005
Not many teams in the Empire Football League run an offense like the Albany Metro Mallers.
They utilize the passing game to set up their running attack. A contrasting scheme such as that can place formidable pressure on the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers' defensive backfield.
But the Trailblazers' secondary isn't intimidated.
Defensive coordinator Ernie Miller plans on making minor adjustments for today's EFL home opener, but there won't be a change in strategy.
"We made our changes in the preseason," Miller said. "I've thrown a lot at these guys. We've got five coverages now, and that's enough."
St. Lawrence Valley faces a Metro Mallers squad that trounced the Scranton Eagles 49-0 in their first EFL game Saturday.
Albany scored four touchdowns through the air, all thrown by seasoned starting quarterback Scott Lawson. Two touchdowns were thrown to Lawson's favorite target and primary receiver, Macio Clinton. Even though the offense may seem explosive, Trailblazers defensive back Butch Bice wouldn't want another opponent.
"Doesn't matter who it is," Bice said. "We're going to be ready with who and what we have. Coach (Miller) has put in an excellent defense. We've got Kenny (Campbell), Eric (Saunders), me, and Jimmy (Compeau). We should do quite well."
Compeau, a Massena native, had two interceptions in two preseason games, while Saunders collected an interception and a fumble recovery just in the preseason opener against Glove Cities. One person who isn't surprised by the secondary's impact is Miller.
"These guys are good open-field tacklers," Miller said. "They work hard, and I'm proud of that."
Bice is a three-year veteran in the defensive backfield. He said Miller's new strategies are focused on little things that will make the secondary more effective.
"Coach (Miller) tells us to not bite on the pump fake, being at the right place at the right time," Bice said. "We've got the ability and the know-how."
In the past, the Trailblazers struggled with depth and insufficient numbers at certain positions. However, the secondary is at full strength and continues to get stronger.
Cody Thompson, brother of St. Lawrence Valley linebacker Jeremy Thompson, started practicing at safety July 7. He said that practice has gone well enough that he might see some action in the opener.
"I've been getting prepared with all the plays," Thompson said. "I've been watching Compeau a lot, his stance, his eyes and how he watches plays. (Aaron) Barksdale picks things up well. He's a good tackler and catcher. I hope I can step up and play like them."
Thompson played this past season at Cornwall Collegiate Vocational School in Cornwall, Ontario, and led the team in interceptions.
Bice said he recognizes the talent and has seen the progression. Perhaps, teams are unaware that the St. Lawrence Valley secondary could also be a challenging force.
"Our guys are sticking to our game," Bice said. "As long as we execute, I don't think we'll have any problems at all."