All about passing game for Panthers
LAGRANGE – There’ll be a new man running LaGrange College head coach Matt Mumme’s pass-happy offense this season.
For the past two seasons, Graham Craig put up gaudy statistics in Mumme’s “Air Raid” offense, but he has graduated, so there’ll be a different person at quarterback when LaGrange College opens its season next month.
“Replacing Graham is going to be tough,” Mumme said during the USA South media day last week. “Graham was a really smart quarterback. He just was smart with what he did with the ball. So we’ve got some big shoes to fill there.”
Connor Blair, who saw action in five games as a freshman last season, will likely be the Panthers’ quarterback when they host Birmingham Southern on Sept. 5.
“We feel he’s going to fill that role,” Mumme said. “And Connor played in this offense in high school, so I think he’ll take over the reins from where Graham left off.”
The good news for Blair is that he’ll have some talented and experienced wide receivers to throw the ball to.
“Probably the biggest experienced group we have in the entire team is our receiving corps,” Mumme said. “We return three guys in our receiving corps that caught over 227 balls in the last two years. We’re going to lean heavily on these guys and hope that Connor can get the ball out to these guys really quick.”
There won’t be any secrets to what the Panthers are going to do offensively.
As the name of the offense indicates, the Panthers will throw the ball a lot.
A year ago, the Panthers threw the ball 46 times per game, and they averaged 334 yards a game through the air.
The offense is similar to the one former Kentucky head coach Hal Mumme, Matt Mumme’s father, has been running for decades.
“I’ve been running this offense since I was in the fifth grade,” Mumme said. “There were days where dad said move the coffee table out of the way, we’re going to go through some stuff.”
Mumme, who was brought in to be the Panthers’ offensive coordinator in 2013 before taking over as head coach with three games remaining in the season, said it’s not a complex offense.
“It’s simple,” he said. “A lot of people look at it and think it’s complicated. It’s really not a hard thing for our guys to get down. We install in three days, and really the big premise of our offense is repetition. The more we do it the better we’re going to be.”
Wide receivers in the offense know there’s a good chance they’ll get a ball thrown their way during a game.
Last year, 17 different players caught a pass, and eight players caught 12 or more passes.
“The one thing for us, and the one thing my dad has always done with this offense, is just give guys a chance, and do something that gives players a chance to be successful,” Mumme said. “And our guys love doing it. It’s a lot of fun to participate in and play in. Hopefully we’ll keep going on the route we’re going and start winning more football games.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports