The Decatur Eagles traded in shorts and T-shirts Friday for their full pads.
Saturday they will hold their annual intersquad scrimmage at Eagle Stadium.
One thing that will be on display is the debut of the new hurry-up offense. Senior quarterback Grayson Muehlstein and junior center Jacob Hartsell have been working hard this week getting it all down.
“Our philosphy on install is just get it all in,” new offensive coordinator Jayson Lavender said. “We put it in fast and furious, go back and clean it up in the final week.
“Overall, what we are looking for is the kids to be playing fast. It’s a process right now.”
Muehlstein and Hartsell have embraced the new system, as they look to put the fast pace to the test Saturday.
“I like it a lot,” Hartsell said. “It puts a lot more responsibility on me as a center. There’s a lot of different stuff going on.”
In the new system, Hartsell has to get the play off, execute his assignment and then quickly get the offensive line set for the next play.
“We ask him to be the captain of the offensive line,” Lavender said.
Decatur installed the offense in the first four days of practice. Despite the heavy load, Muehlstein says things are off to a good start.
“The first few days have gone great,” he said. “It’s a lot of stuff to get in and everyone seems to be grasping it well. I’m really enjoying it.”
Muehlstein passed for 1,444 yards last season – and if this fast-paced offense takes hold, he should be able to surpass that number in his senior season. He should get help from Levi Rust at running back and his top target in 2012, Cain Lowe, at wide receiver.
“One of the things we’ve asked him to do is lead,” Lavender said about Muehlstein. “He’s a great leader. When he takes the field we tell him he owns it. We want to stress to him the mental aspect of that.”
Lavender wants to see a few things start to come together with his lineman and skill kids when the offense takes the field Saturday.
“I want to see the kids getting up there, snapping the ball and playing fast,” Lavender said. “This first scrimmage is a process of putting those six to eight plays together and can we play at that pace for that long. I’m looking for crisp execution, good tempo and can we concentrate when we’re tired.”