As the Muskie “Bees” head into their home opener tomorrow against the International Falls Broncos junior varsity squad, head coach Bob Fryer is hoping his team takes a change in direction.
Coming off a 20-6 loss to the Roseau Rams in their season opener, and a 26-7 defeat to the Baudette Bears last week, Fryer noted both losses were a “mirror image of each other.”
But he also admitted the “Bees” must start to improve on both sides of the ball if they hope to beat their border rivals here tomorrow (kickoff is 4:30 p.m. at Westfort).
“On defence, we’re still having trouble with the sweep and our offensive line still needs work on [creating] holes for our running backs,” said Fryer, who took over as head coach from his son, Ron, this season.
Fryer acknowledged his team may be having trouble with the “3/6 or 4/6" American style of defence, which showcases three down linemen and "disguises six players as linebackers” but, in actuality, they are used as linemen.
“We haven’t been able to run the ball, and our lead blocker is going forward and creating a pile so there’s nowhere to go,” he noted.
“We’re having trouble reading our blocking assignments.”
Fryer said the Muskies’ inability to run the football has hurt them in their first two games, forcing them to play catch-up through the air which has produced little results on the scoreboard.
“Our offence becomes too vulnerable when we have only one weapon," he admitted. ”I think in the past we’ve gone to the pass a little too early.
“We’re going to try to run the ball, and we’re going to stick with it until it works,” he pledged.
Still, the Muskie “Bees” have found a potent offensive duo in quarterback Gary Wager and receiver Adam McIntosh, who have hooked up for a pair of long touchdown passes this season.
“Gary’s played quite well for us, and Adam is a speedy receiver, who wasn’t a starter in the beginning but he’ll start [tomorrow] against the Falls,” said Fryer.
“Adam runs a straight fly pattern and gets behind the defender, and Gary finds him,” he added.
Unfortunately, the Muskies are falling behind early, and are prone to giving up late touchdowns after closing the gap.
“The guys are getting tired at the end. The first part of the game, we’re within striking distance but then we fall behind in the end,” Fryer said.
“But the kids are trying.”