Cardinal Newman and the double wing

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
Disastrous performances call for desperate measures.
Just ask Cardinal Newman coach Paul Cronin, who installed a new offense last week in the wake of a 9-0 loss to Montgomery in which the Cardinals had three first downs and 23 yards.
Newman went from the spread offense to the double wing, a change in philosophy similar to moving from Republican to the Green Party.
The spread is an en vogue, pass-oriented offense with three- and four- wide receiver sets which features the quarterback. The double wing, or Toss, is a run-oriented system with two tight ends, no wide receivers and a quarterback that typically acts as a lead blocker.
“You can be a stubborn or you can change and we knew that we needed to change,” Cronin said. “We looked at our personnel as a staff and asked what could we do and have ready in a week because that game was kind of our season.”
And Newman (4-4) saved its season with a 40-21 win over Rancho Cotate in which the double wing helped amass 398 rushing yards, 290 over the Cardinals’ season average.
With the help of assistant coach Russell Ponce, who used the double wing when he was the head coach at Santa Rosa, the Cardinals installed an attack their players immediately embraced.
“We were really excited when we first started working on it in practice and we were excited when we started to scrimmage with it,” said quarterback Jack James. “Coach Ponce told us it was a smash-mouth offense and it was going to be like a street fight. We liked that.”
In keeping with its new blue-collar mentality, the Cardinals put a pair of linebackers – Tyler Laron and Matt Bowman – in the backfield along with converted wide receiver Bryson Dumont.
Newman apparently chose wisely. Laron had 169 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown, Dumont had 103 yards on 10 carries with three scores and Bowman had 93 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown.
The Cardinals entered averaging 22.1 pass attempts per game, but they attempted two passes against the Cougars, both incompletions. Newman had four plays in their offense Friday, but they only ran two.
Given more time, Cronin plans to incorporate more wrinkles.
“I don’t believe you can win football games without being balanced unless you’re just so superior to the other team,” Cronin said. “We have to keep getting creative with what we can do with this set. We’re going to stick with it, but add some things that are pretty creative.”