Iota turns focus to pass-happy Vinton

IOTA – Following their shutout jamboree loss Friday night, all Iota could do was turn their focus to the regular season, where it appears things won’t be getting easier for the Bulldogs anytime soon.

The Bulldogs will open their season at home Thursday night at 7 o’clock against the 4-2A Vinton Lions. With the game being a Thursday night game instead of a Friday game, Iota will be running on a shorter week. But that doesn’t seem to be worrying head coach Marcus LeJeune that much.

“Our basic offensive plays and defensive plays are installed, now it’s just a matter of adding a little bit each week,” he said. “At this point, it is still the basics. So a shorter week isn’t really affecting us.”

The Bulldogs’ main focus this week is to continue building on the basics. But with Iota facing Vinton, a spread offense team with a quarterback, receiving core and coach all expecting to go to the air often in games this year, adding a few wrinkles into their system, particularly on defense was necessary.

“With (Vinton) being more of a passing team, it changes your focus,” said LeJeune.

The Lions are coming off of a winless season determined to stop their decline. They return 10 starters, four on offense and six on defense, including senior quarterback Joe Prince and plan to turn their returners for leadership and guidance throughout the season.

The Lions also plan on being very physical at the line which each average above 200 pounds. The offensive line averages 243 pounds and the defensive line averages 281 pounds. But LeJeune isn’t worried about just the size of the Lions, their athleticism is also great cause for concern and deserves a careful eye by the Bulldogs.

“Vinton has some good size kids, and they have some athletes,” he said, “We are focusing on preparing for their basic offensive scheme. As far as our offense, the plan doesn’t change.”

As for the Bulldogs, the game plan is still basically the same and their continued theme of building off of last season and the last week will continue.

“We’re building off of last week and now we’ve got to go four quarters,” said LeJeune. “We’ll take what we saw on tape from the jamboree and work on what needs our focus.”

Thomas Murrell will continue to get the start at quarterback, but LeJeune says Gavin Guidry may see some snaps Thursday night.

“Thomas is our number one guy, but Gavin may get in a few snaps Thursday and over the year,” said LeJeune. “Gavin was nursing a sore knee last week so we limited him to defense and it kind of made the decision to go with Thomas for us. With that sore knee, we’ve been keeping a close eye on him and it. We don’t want to overdo it.”

The Bulldogs will also be almost full strength for the first time all year. Trever Fruge will sit out the game with a minor head injury. As of now, he will be the only starter not going this week.

“So far, it looks like we’ll have just about everybody this week,” said LeJeune. “It’s the first time all year. Our strong safety is out after getting his bell rung last week, he was a bit dizzy afterward so we’re holding him out this week, but he’s our only starter.”

“We’ll move one of our linebackers out and should be OK there. But we had three starters out last week and they’ll all be back this week.”

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