BOLINGBROOK — Last year Morris starting quarterback Zach Cinnamon accounted for 35 percent of the Redskins offensive production. In addition to throwing for 987 yards and 12 touchdowns, the now-graduated Streator transfer ran for 526 yards and 10 more scores. All totaled, that’s 22 of the 62 touchdowns the locals scored last year.
Those are some pretty big shoes to fill.
Removing that kind of dual threat-athlete from the lineup at such a key position will likely mean changes for the Morris offense this fall, but just how much it will change remains up for debate.
“It will change things. We are going to give whoever is our quarterback a lot of opportunity to run some zone-read stuff and to make plays. We have a humongous offensive line and we are hoping that protection is going to be there,” Morris offensive coordinator Bill Lauer said. “But both guys are going to have to run the ball. We want a quarterback who can be that third option in I-(formation) and fourth option in T-(formation). Just like Zach did last year.
“That’s where that durability comes in. Both of them are fast enough, even though they don’t have Cinnamon’s speed. I think accuracy wise, that’s where the both of them would have that advantage over Zach. They both have positives.
Just because we don’t have the quarterback speed doesn’t mean we can’t run the same plays and do the same things we did last year.”
The two guys that Lauer is referring to are senior Matt Darlington and junior Griffin Sobol. Both indicated that the offense may not change as much as you’d think from last year to this.
“I don’t know that it is going to change. We’re still running most of the same stuff, though we are getting outside more. Throwing and running outside,” Darlington said. “I feel like me and Griffin are capable of getting the yards we need to get.”
If anything, Sobol thinks the Redskins will be able to go deeper into the team’s playbook this fall when the real games get underway.
“I’m not quite sure if the offense is going to change a lot. Maybe we can run more plays in our playbook,” he said. “Perhaps we can rely more on running, too. Running in shotgun and in spread. I don’t think too much is going to change.”
Lauer said that essentially, getting production out of the quarterback spot requires specific prerequisites.
“From the quarterback standpoint, I want the guys to make the correct reads and not force the ball downfield. We want them to take what they can get. If we have to nickel and dime teams all season long, which means throwing the ball more than we did last year, we’ll take that,” he said. “We can run T and get five yards a run, but it’s just as impressive throwing a 4-yard hitch. That’s exactly what we are looking for from our quarterbacks.
“We changed the offense a little in that we want to get rid of the ball in quick fire fashion. We want them to get rid of the ball and try to gain yards that way. That instead of lining teams up and burying them. We have to be prepared in the event that we can’t do that.”
Still, Thorson said the team also has to at least present a deep threat to keep other teams honest.
“We have to be able to stretch the field or we’re going to be one-dimensional. Our game is going to be to get the ball to our short, quick guys and watch them get out into the open,” he said. “But that’s just a part of it. We want to have the whole package. We want to be able to run the offense like we want it to run. We’re seeing good things out of both of them right now.”