Rebels ready to roll the dice

Taking chances and being aggressive are centerpieces of new coach Harrison's approach to Prep's revival.

September 08, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk,

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — The Flintridge Prep football team can't take the next step forward without taking a few chances.

That would seem to be the rationale of Coach Antonio Harrison as he begins to put his stamp on the program in the first season of his head coaching tenure by trying to push the envelope a bit more on both sides of the ball.

On the surface, Harrison, who served as an assistant under Perry Skaggs last season, won't be drastically altering either the traditional Wing-T offense that the Rebels have long favored or their basic 4-4 defensive scheme. But he strongly believes that being too conservative on defense and not varied enough in its offensive playbook was a big factor in Prep's 3-6 finish and failure to make the CIF playoffs with a 2-3 mark in the Prep League a year ago.

"The biggest difference is we're not going to be a conservative defense anymore," said Harrison, whose team, which is ranked eighth in the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division, opens its season with a nonleague game at St. Genevieve at 7 p.m. on Saturday. "We're going to blitz the hell out of everybody, we're going to get after the quarterbacks and we're going to be nasty and aggressive.


"This past summer with the new system and new program, we were averaging 25 guys to every passing-league practice and game. Now that we're stepping into [preseason] learning the plays, we don't have to take as much time teaching. Everything's flowing right in and we're just taking care of the little things on the field, so it's looking really good."

In addition to changing the defensive mindset, Harrison's other prime offseason objective was to spice up the offense by going to a modified shotgun version of the Wing-T in attempt to better utilize the Rebels' best athletes.

The signal-caller leading the offense may vary from game to game and just as likely from play to play, as one of the only positions at which Harrison is yet to name a definite starter is quarterback.

Seniors Jordan Whaley and Kyle McDonald have competed for the job all summer. Harrison said both have performed well enough with the first and second teams in practice for the Rebels to enter the season with a two-quarterback system that will persist through the early weeks of the season and possibly indefinitely for as long as it continues to work for the team.

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