"We've got to be able to throw the ball to be successful," Hammons said. "One-for-12's not going to get it done."
That was the completion rate of Michael Bottoms in his debut as Mercer's starting quarterback. Bottoms threw for only 7 yards, but Hammons said the blame for the poor passing performance shouldn't be all his because the Scotties also had new receivers and offensive linemen.
Still, the Mercer coach said he expected the air attack to be more efficient.
"I thought we would be better at that," he said. "We had been better at the two scrimmages, but there's nothing that replaces a game. You can't simulate that situation."
Hammons said Mercer can't afford to have an inferior passing attack even though it is primarily a running team.
"We'll go back to where we were a couple years ago when everybody put nine- and 10-man fronts against us and dared us to throw it," he said. "We can't let that happen. When we throw 30 percent of the time, it needs to be a threat."
It didn't take Monroe long last week to turn its defensive focus toward Mercer running back Andrew McCloud, who ran for 108 yards but had most of them by halftime.
McCloud had only one long run, but Hammons said the junior came close to breaking several more.
Mercer's defense didn't break often last week, and Hammons said he was pleased with the effort on that side of the ball.
"It really surprised me that our defense played as well as it did. It's a young defense," he said.
This week that defense will be tested by Wayne's power attack, led by sophomore quarterback John Perkins and running back Matthew Golf.
"They're a different team that we faced last week," Hammons said. "They have some speed, ... they've got some big boys and they're going to come at you."
Pulaski County spread Wayne's defense, which gave up 39 points and over 200 yards passing last week in an apparently lopsided loss, but the game was still close through half of the fourth period, when Pulaski's lead was just 19-14.
"I'm anxious to see how we're going to match up with this group," Hammons said.