Ads are no surprise to French

August 26, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

The last time Larry French coached against Danville was in 1988 when he was the head coach at Mercer County. However, from what French has seen, not much has changed with the Admirals going into Friday's game when Danville will host French's Lincoln County team.

"Danville has always had good running backs with outstanding ability. I can remember a bunch of them," said French. "They have some this year, too."

French rates Danville senior running back Kelvin Turner "among the best I've seen because of his ability to cut and get to full speed after a step or two." French also praised his ability to see openings and get through them before the defense reacts.

He also thought sophomore Darren Ross ran well in Danville's 43-6 win over Garrard County last week in the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic. Then there is quarterback Ronnie Hawkins.


"The quarterback runs well, he directs the offense and he throws well," French said.

Lincoln's offense sputtered in its first game last week, a 34-14 loss to Harrison County in the PBK Bank Death Valley Bowl. Still, Danville coach Sam Harp knows French, who built Meade County into a Class AAAA playoff participant, has a workable plan.

"I think he has a couple of kids that can run well. Their overall team speed is not great, but they have a couple who can get in the open field and go all the way," Harp said. "Larry has a plan about what he wants to do and his offense is a little like what Georgetown College uses. I know he has to take small steps now because he's trying to find the right pieces of the puzzle."

Three quarterbacks for Lincoln

French used three quarterbacks against Harrison, one reason the Patriots had several problems with quarterback-center exchanges. But he probably will use all three again against Danville.

The most effective last week was junior Jared Long, who was 7-for-22 passing for 91 yards and one touchdown. Long had not played football since the seventh grade before joining the team in July.

"If he had been with us all summer, he would be better. But he's worth fooling with because he's got potential," French said. "We have to keep experimenting at quarterback until we see what will work and what won't."

"Long threw well late in the game and they might throw even more against us," Harp said. "We played better in the secondary last week than I anticipated, but our linebackers have to get better reading their keys and playing technique football."

Harp thought Hawkins and Ryan Harper both played well defensively for his team last week.

"What little Turner did play on defense, he did a good job," Harp said. "But since we plan on giving him the ball a lot, we are going to try and rest him more on defense to help him stay fresh early in the season when the weather is still hot and humid."

Even though Lincoln's defense gave up 34 points, Harp thought the Patriots were "flying to the football" more than they did last year and following French's system.

French isn't sure that will be nearly enough against Danville.

"They are better than good"

"They are better than good. They have picked right up where they left off last year when they won the state (championship)," French said. "They have size up front, they have speed in the backfield and a great runner in Turner, and they have gifted receivers. They can hurt you in numerous ways. If you try to stop the run, Hawkins hurts you with the pass. Then they can break a big play at any time."

French isn't sure a preseason scrimmage against Manual, a team with lots of speed also, will help his team Friday at Admiral Stadium.

"Manual ran up and down the field pretty quick on us," French said. "Speed can hurt us. I suspect we have some major problems that will get exposed this week. I can't worry that much about Danville with all the problems we have. I just hope we can give them a game.

"They looked in midseason form last week. They beat a good Garrard County team very easily. The good thing here is that the kids are excited. As long as we can get better, I will stay patient. We are going to keep using a lot of young players. I just hope they don't learn more than they can handle this week."

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