The Ottawa High School offensive line is inexperienced. The Cyclones moved several starters from other positions to the line.
It made for inconsistent play and the offense has not produced long drives in the first three games.
The Cyclones (2-1) have been limited to around 100 yards of offense in the past two games.
“A lot of kids are learning how to be O-lineman,” Ottawa coach Rob Hedrick said. “The learning curve is big. We see improvements every week.
“It is in their consistency in their footwork. They have a great attitude.”
Hedrick said the offense will need to play better if Ottawa has any chance of beating St. James (1-2) Friday at Steve Grogan Stadium.
“If we are going to win, we have to run the ball,” Hedrick said. “We have to run between the tackles. We have not been good at third down and six.”
The offensive line will remain intact for another week. Hedrick said another week of practice should be a big help.
“There is nothing new to the O-line,” he said. “Hopefully they can play and not think [as much]. We need to produce big plays offensively. We will have more play-action this week.”
Ottawa will receive a boost with the return of running back Alex Lynch, who has missed the past two weeks with an injury. He ran for more than 60 yards against Prairie View.
“It will be nice to have him back,” Hedrick said. “He is a good athlete.”
St. James is not as big up front as last year’s team. Hedrick said the Thunder makes up for it by playing aggressive on defense.
“The safeties run the running lanes,” he said. “Hopefully, we will take advantage of some of their aggressiveness. Their offense has the potential to put up a lot of points. They are very spread out and have lots of options on every play. They have some good football players.”
He said Paola and Baldwin was successful on the ground against the Thunder and hopes Ottawa can too.
Hedrick said Ottawa at this point the season has most of its offense and defense in. He will make subtle changes each week.
“We are trying to get better at what we do,” he said. “It all comes down to the offense. Last week, the defense played well enough for us to win. It is a good test every week.
“Everybody is anxious. You have to be mentally prepared for Friday.”