With less than a minute left in a game-like situation during Bulloch Academy’s four-team scrimmage Friday afternoon, second-year quarterback Lanier Olliff threw a 20-yard strike to deep threat Jarves Williams for a touchdown.
Williams, Olliff and the offensive line looked solid against some tough competition, making head coach Terence Hennessy rethink his run-first philosophy on offense.
“I was really happy with the way we threw the ball. It may make me break some of my tendencies and throw the ball a little bit more,” said Hennessy with a smile after his team completed a scrimmage against Briarwood Academy, Augusta Christian and Trinity Christian. “We have some receivers and our quarterback can throw the ball. It’s hard because I’m a run guy, but if we have to throw the ball, we’ll throw the ball.”
Hennessy said throwing the ball more on offense may become an inevitability to prevent other teams from keying in on what the Gators are trying to do. Hennessy said throwing the ball more will also create more running lanes for his full-backs.
With a chance to show off his receiving skills, Williams said he looks forward to a more pass-happy offense in the future.
“We had a lot of space (today) and ran the option pretty well. I think I did pretty well. I definitely look forward to passing the ball more,” Williams said. “Me and my quarterback have a pretty good connection. When he throws it up, I go get it.”
Several factors bode well for the Gators chances in the passing game. Williams’ speed helps separate himself from the competition, the Gators are deep in the wide receiver position and Olliff is in his second year of a new offense.
“We’ve been out here running routes since late May, so we’ve been able to come out here and get it going,” Williams said. “I’m faster than a lot of guys I can just take a quick jab-step and get up field pretty quickly.”
Due to GISA rules, the Gators were unable to hold spring practice. Friday’s scrimmage was a barometer for testing BA’s skill set, Hennessy said.
The scrimmage began at 7 p.m. and lasted until 8 p.m. The light scrimmage started off with position-specific drills including, 7-on-7 passing and a pass blocking challenge for lineman. After drills, each team spent about seven minutes on offense and defense facing other teams.
“I think not having spring football killed us, and I don’t think it’s coming back. We didn’t get to introduce our base stuff to our freshman or implement our base stuff,” Hennessy said.
Hennessy said he’s still working on fully implementing plays he wants to run on offense this season. The second-year head coach said he wants his team to run four base plays within the first week of practice.
The Gators will most likely run seven or eight base plays on offense for the first game of the season. Unlike last year, Hennessy said he plans to continue to add base plays to the offense—about three to four a week—along with one new route combination.
“We have film that we’re going to take a look at, but overall I was pleased. I talked with the coaches and they couldn’t believe we pulled this off,” Hennessy said. “We’re going to take a look at the film over the weekend and see who played well, who didn’t and progress from there.”