Embracing a new offense
Coach brings passing attack to team
by By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
It’s a system that has produced championships, record-setting offensive seasons, All-American players, and a near Heisman Trophy winner in Tim Couch.
Now, the pass-happy system that is the staple of the Mumme family has come to LaGrange.
Matt Mumme, son of former Kentucky head coach Hal Mumme, is the new offensive coordinator for the LaGrange College football team that opens its season next week against Birmingham Southern.
As expected, Mumme is bringing an offense heavy on the passing game, known as the Air Raid offense, to LaGrange.
Mumme was hired in February, and he was able to work with the returning players during spring practice, and for the past few weeks he’s gotten to know everyone else during preseason camp.
Mumme has spent that time getting all of the offensive players, from the quarterbacks, to the wide receivers, to the offensive linemen and the running backs, familiar with his offense.
“Our whole offense is built off repetition,” Mumme said. “We’ve got a small arsenal of plays, and we just keep repeating them. The kids are going to get better the more they do it. That’s the important thing.”
Mumme has also spent a lot of time evaluating the talent, figuring out who fits best in what position.
There will obviously be more opportunities for the wide receivers, and whoever ends up playing quarterback will need to be comfortable throwing the ball a whole bunch, perhaps as much as 50 times a game.
“It’s a good group (on offense),” Mumme said. “We’ve got a lot of transfers here, too. We’ve been blessed with a few transfers that we can put in some spots, and a few of the freshmen have stepped it up so far in camp, and that’s a key.”
Mumme said it’s an offense teams have always enjoyed running, and he said the players here seem to be embracing it so far.
“What we do on offense is fun,” Mumme said. “The kids love pitching and catching the football. We make it exciting by playing fast and getting after people.”
One of the players adjusting to the new system, offensive lineman Matt James, said there has been “a little bit of a learning curve,” but that the players are catching on quickly.
“But surprisingly, it’s a very easy offense to learn,” said James, a senior. “He tries to simplify it as much as possible. I know a lot of people think there are going to be a ton of signals and all this stuff. But it’s very simple to learn. There’s a lot more pass-blocking than what we’re used to. I kind of like that a little better.”
Another of the offensive linemen, junior Stephen Stinchcomb, said Mumme has fit right in.
“He has just had such a relaxed attitude,” Stinchcomb said. “He just has the respect from all of us by the way he treats us.”
Mumme learned the finer points of the pass-first offense from a great source, his father Hal Mumme.
Hal Mumme is best known for his time at Kentucky when he brought a pass-first offense to the Southeastern Conference, but before that he built Valdosta State into a national power by going to the air on almost every play.
Matt Mumme has not only coached with his father, but he also played quarterback for him at Kentucky.
Since graduating from Kentucky in 1999, Matt Mumme has coached at Southeastern Louisiana, New Mexico State, and Davidson College in North Carolina where he spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator.
Wherever he has been, Mumme has been a part of offenses that have put up some of the best numbers in the country..
Now, that Air Raid offense that has succeeded wherever it has been used is coming to LaGrange.
In all, Mumme has coached seven all-conference quarterbacks and receivers, as well as a few All-Americans.
“We’re going to put on a show for everybody hopefully,” Mumme said. “It’ll be good.”
Mumme believes he’ll be able to bring in the players necessary to run the offense at a high level.
“You’re in a hot bed of recruiting,” Mumme said. “You’re in a great state to recruit. It’s a lot like when I was in a Division III school in Texas. You don’t have to go far to get good players. That’s definitely a great thing that we’ve got available to us.”
Mumme also said coaching Division III athletes is a lot of fun because the players have a great passion for the game.
“They love the game, and they want to be here,” Mumme said. “It’s the college game. It’s fun.”
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