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Defense of all three county clubs must go (almost) extra mile

Defense of all three county clubs must go (almost) extra mile
1,322 yards.

3,966 feet.

Roughly, three-quarters of a mile.

To say the defenses of Obion County’s three football entries last week were woeful might actually qualify as an understatement.
More like atrocious.

The collection of Union City, Obion Central and South Fulton surrendered that aforementioned yardage total and was outscored cumulatively 156-41 in dropping lopsided decisions to a trio of solid — though not powerhouse — opponents.
In fact, the added-together records of Bruceton, Crockett County and Greenfield — last week’s foes of the Obion County clubs — now stands at a nothing-special 11-7.

The subpar showings continued a season-long trend for UC, OC and SF that has seen all three struggle miserably on the defensive side of the ball through the first two-thirds of the ‘07 campaign.

All are giving up more than 31 points-per-game and over 350 yards to opponents every night out. Points-wise, Central has been the worst, surrendering 46.2 every Friday, with South Fulton allowing 39 and the Tornadoes 31.3. From a yardage standpoint, South Fulton is at the bottom of the list, giving up just a shade under 400 yards-per-game, followed by UC (397.2) and the Rebels (350.5).

Poor tackling has been widespread throughout all three teams. Personnel, technique and scheme have all been targeted by each team’s coaching staff, and both UC’s Jimmy Fishel and rookie OC skipper Jason Driggers say they continue to work on their respective club’s shortcomings with just a month left in the regular season.

“Defense is and always will be about being aggressive and being able to get off of blocks,” Fishel claimed. “So many times, we are in position, and simply do not finish plays by making tackles.

“We continually work on being better tacklers, and try to create as many competitive situations as we can to improve.”

Driggers, who unlike Fishel puts his troops through full-contact drills in complete gear three days a week in practice, said he and his staff put the Rebels through fundamental work regularly to correct their defensive shortcomings.

“I think with us, it’s a people problem, with technique and some scheme issues, and I think our inexperience figures into the equation too,” the OC coach said.

“We’re just not making plays, and a lot of the time, we’re in the right place to do so.

“I look at tape of our scheme, and sometimes, we’re just not getting it done. We work on technique every day, so I know it’s not from a lack of attention to detail. It’s obviously very disappointing and embarrassing sometime that we aren’t doing a better job in an area that is largely about effort and desire.”

The short-term future for Union City seems a little-more promising than that of Obion Central and South Fulton as far as showing improvement on the defensive side of the ball.

The Tornadoes’ schedule over the last month is a relatively-soft one, what with games against SF and West Carroll — neither of whom could be characterized as offensive juggernauts. UC still must face upstart Greenfield — a darkhorse in Region 7-1A next week — and will close its regular season against an always-gritty Gleason bunch.

Neither Obion Central nor South Fulton will be afforded such luxuries as far as favorable schedules the rest of the way this season.

The Rebels’ slate features the trio of Dyer County, Haywood and Brighton — those three having combined for a 13-5 mark — with only 1-5 Covington not among the top teams in their respective leagues.

SF meanwhile, faces a foursome that includes UC, Lake County, McKenzie and Gleason, a group that has compiled a current 16-9 mark.

Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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