Rams unveil new defense against M.L. King

COVINGTON - Newton's defense will have a new look as it tries to slow down a more athletic M.L. King team when the two squads clash at 7:30 p.m. today at Homer Sharp Stadium.

Some of the players moving are Brain Forde (from defensive end to nose guard), plus Jamal Hunte and Justice Ejike (from defensive end to interior linemen).

"We're going to move some people around a bit and see if we can create more pressure up front," Newton coach Nick Collins said. "They have got to play big for us because what (opponents) have done is run the ball well inside and we've got to eliminate the inside run."

Collins is hoping that the Rams' defense will finally be able to make the plays necessary to keep people from scoring as much.

In Newton's overtime win against Redan last week, Collins said that if his defense would have made the tackles the game would not have been close.

"We have to make plays on defense," Collins said. "Our defense is as basic as you can get. To not do those things is frustrating."

Newton's defense is going to have to step up to the challenge of playing a more athletic team.

As long as Newton's defense sticks to its scheme, Collins feels that a well-coached fundamental team can beat a more athletic team just about every time.

"What we're going to see is a team that's more athletic then anyone else we've played. The advantage that we have, if we can take advantage of it, is in fundamental skills and doing things that are necessary to win ball games," Collins said. "I think that a fundamentally team can beat an athletic team. You see that every year. You get to a certain level in the playoffs and you see a team that has very little athletic ability and they beat a team that is are superior athlete-wise. They do the right things all the time instead of relying on their athletic ability."

Not only do the Rams have to keep tabs on Lions running back Mack Brown, who has 825 yards on 96 carries in six games with nine touchdowns, they also have to keep an eye on quarterback Cameron Myers, who averages 8.6 yards a carry.

"We can't allow them to have the big plays. We can't let people get outside of us, particularly in our three-deep coverage when there's no one there to help in run support," Collins said.

Newton's offense will also have a new look to it as well, especially in the backfield.

While Demeterius McCray will remain at quarterback, Quinton Pooler, DJ Hill and Devaneer Gibson will have bigger roles.

"We're going to put ourselves in a position where we're going to do things differently with our backs where we could utilize their abilities," Collins said. "I don't think we've fully utilized Quinton's or DJ's or Devaneer Gibson's ability on offense."

Of course, a lot of what they do will depend on M.L. King's defense.

"Redan decided that they were not going to let the fullback run the football," Collins said. "They were going to let the quarterback run it. (McCray) ran for almost 200 yards. M.L. King may decide that they would rather let the fullback carry it and not the quarterback. We just don't know."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.