Andalusia to host W.S. Neal

Published 8:43 pm Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Andalusia Bulldogs (0-2, 0-1 in Class 4A, Region 1) are hoping to turn their season around this week as they host the W.S. Neal Warriors (1-1, 0-1) tonight in round two of region play.

W.S. Neal lost its game last week against Clarke County, 49-12.

As to the current state of the team this week leading into tonight’s game, Bulldogs head coach Brian Seymore said he hopes the team feels positive.

“I’m hoping on the way up,” Seymore said. “I just look at the games we’ve had the past two weeks and there are so many places where there were four or five plays in each ball game that could’ve made a difference in the outcome. We’ve talked to our players about it and have addressed it and how important it is to see those opportunities when they come about.”

Seymore said he emphasized to the players that they have to learn from their mistakes and not dwell on the outcomes.

“I’ve told them you’ve got to put the negative stuff out,” he said. “You’ve got to forget about it and let it go and hopefully you’ll learn from your mistakes and grow from them. We can’t dwell on the missed opportunities and we can’t dwell on the outcome of the past two games. That’s going to be an excuse or crutch for something bad to happen in the future.”

On W.S. Neal, Seymore said its offense is similar to that of Tony Franklin’s.

“Coach (Blaine) Hathcock has had a good record for a number of years now,” Seymore said. “They are very similar to the last three opponents we’ve played. They have a Tony Franklin-based offense and a running spread offense and will throw the ball all around the field. That’s something that hopefully we can get to the point in our defense that will get better and better each week.

“I felt like this is the best week we have had so far defensively,” he said. “I really feel like our kids are focused and locked in on the keys and know exactly what to do in game time situations.”

One thing the Bulldogs will be doing is trying match the pace of the game with their opponent.

“If you’re not ready for the pace of the game, they’ll catch you off guard,” Seymore said. “We’ve got to do a good job disguising our coverages and our blitzes and just getting a lot more people to the football. I just want to make sure everybody gets excited about Andalusia football. I think that’s something that’s been missing the past couple of weeks.”

During the B.C. Rain game last week in Mobile, Seymore ran a “new offense” where running the ball was the emphasis.

“B.C. Rain cut us off with what they were doing,” he said. “They were a 3-4 defense and they went to a 5-2-0 look and like I said, week in and week out, we’ll have different packages according to what the defense is giving us and we got to be ready to run them effectively.

“They’ve got Jamar Travis who is on the defensive line,” Seymore said as an example of who they are looking out for. “He’s a man among the boys. He’s 6-foot-3 and 290 (pounds) and he’s a bona fide Division I defensive lineman. We have to do a really good job on the interior and make sure they don’t disrupt our offense. I was really impressed with Jeremy Nicholson. He’s a skilled player on cornerback and makes you nervous on the returning game.”

Seymore added that going into the game tonight, both teams are similar in a lot of ways.

“I really believe us and Neal are very similar in what we do and I believe I think both teams are struggling to find their identity,” he said. “I’m hoping that this game will help turn this season around. I’ve preached to our guys that we can play anybody in our region and that I haven’t seen anybody wowed me on film. I think our kids are positive and are looking forward to this opportunity (tonight). I hope the people in the community and the school stay behind these guys because they have worked extremely hard and they deserve our support.”

Kickoff at Bulldog Stadium is at 7 p.m.