COVINGTON - It's not blocking, tackling or play execution that the Rams are going to have to improve as they prepare to take on McIntosh on the road Friday. It's attitude.
"We've worked on attitude adjustment," Newton coach Nick Collins said. "Last week, I was completely embarrassed with our character. Some of the things that happened were things that were previously addressed with several players and the team. Those are things we can control, and we didn't do a very good job on the field in getting those things done."
For Newton to be successful against the Chiefs, it will have to find a way to dominate play. One way the Rams can do that is to mentally believe they can win. Secondly, they have to be able to overcome their undersized stature.
"Contrary to popular belief, we're not as big up front as people think we are," Collins said. "We've got a good size right tackle, we've got a good size left tackle, but our running backs are bigger than our two guards. We have to dominate, we have to be aggressive and those guys have to get their hands on people. That's going to be the key."
Getting the running and passing games on higher levels would go a long way to coming out on top on the scoreboard.
"I thought we ran the ball well but not as well as I wanted us to run it," Collins said. "We focused a lot on running the football inside (in practice). We have to shore up our passing game. We had several drops and several passes that floated on us. We just need to focus. The big thing for us is that we've had every player in practice every day, unlike last week."
Against Alcovy, Newton only had 77 yards on the ground, with DJ Hill pacing the team with 32 yards on 10 carries. In the air, Tyree Williams went 9-for-19 for 101 yards and one interception. Devon Mann caught four passes for 45 yards on the night.
Even though Newton beat McIntosh 22-15 last season, Collins said this is a much-improved team he's facing.
"They're well-coached," Collins said. "Coach (Glenn) Griffin came in late last year, and it took a little while to get his system implemented. But he's done a good job. They've done a lot of things and a lot of things well. They've made the preparation this week really tough."
The Chiefs have a good skill players that, if the Rams don't keep an eye on them, could cause trouble for Newton.
Chiefs quarterback Cam Porter connected with Matt Fergus for two first half touchdowns last week. Running back Darius Miliam found the end zone three times in the second half.
"Their quarterback is really good. He throws the ball well," Collins said. "In the second half of last year's game, he picked us apart and we barely hung on at the end. Their running back is really good, too. They move him around. That's going to be the key for us, knowing where he is."
After the first game, the Rams are already feeling the pains of football with several offensive linemen banged up.
That could hurt the Rams if they are unable to stop nose guard Andrew Graham, who had 11 tackles - two for losses - and two sacks last week.
"We're concerned with the number of formations they run," Collins said. "They don't run but a handful of plays, but they're going to give you about 20 to 25 formations, and you've got to line up and adjust to the formation and then to the shift or to the motion. For our kids that don't see a lot of that, it takes some getting used to."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: If You Go
· Who: Newton Rams (0-1) at McIntosh Chiefs (1-0)
· Where: 201 Walt Banks Road, Peachtree City
· When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
· Last week: Newton lost to Alcovy 17-8; McIntosh beat Forsyth Central 37-17
· Series: Newton leads 1-0