Blaine spreading things out in practice

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 30, 2013 

Blaine running back Brian Ferrer picks up a block during offensive drills on Monday, Aug. 26.

DAVID RASBACH — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

BLAINE - These won't be Mario Gobbato's Borderites.

After watching Gobbato surpass 2,500 yards rushing each of the past two falls, the Blaine football team had to watch him and a big portion of the offensive line that paved the way for that kind of success graduate last spring.

As a result, the Borderites are undergoing an offensive metamorphosis this offseason.

No longer will Blaine feed one guy the ball for 30, 40, even 50 carries a game, and yes, those were three- and four-wide receiver sets out of the spread formation you've seen driving by Blaine's practice fields off the truck route to the border crossing.

"We don't have the big, 200-plus pound linemen to complement the pro-style offense we've run in the past," said Cole Muder, who will be the primary running back replacing Gobbato. "They're smarter and faster, though, and that allows us to do a lot of different things."

The biggest adjustment the line has had to make to the new offense is working out of the two-point stance, senior lineman Michael Antczak said.

"It's a little bit different," Antczak said. "We have to stay smart and stuff and think about what we're all supposed to do."

The line is not the only one checking to make sure it does everything right.

Muder said backs and receivers also have had to be cognizant of making sure they run the correct routes and get their cuts and blocks made to allow the offense to run smoothly.

But everybody seems to be learning their new roles.

"When we first started this off going into the Eastern (Washington University) football camp, I'm not going to down our team or anything, but switching to a new offense, it's going to be tough to do the first day," quarterback Nate Kramme said. "Of course it was. But I think we're starting to get good at it. Every day gets a little bit better and better, and that's all we can hope for."

Actually, Kramme is hoping for a little bit more, as he is anxious to show what he can do throwing the ball.

In 2012, he attempted only 122 passes and threw for 809 yards and eight touchdowns.

"I love it," Kramme said of the new system. "It's better than the years before with only two receivers and throwing maybe eight times a game. This year we're going to throw a lot more, and hopefully they're going to take me off the leash and let me make my own calls. I need to find who's open and make the reads."

Now before you start printing up the "Air Dodd" T-shirts, realize that the spread formation is only part of Blaine's offensive attack.

Coach Jay Dodd promised that the Borderites will still utilize the old pro-style formation and will continue to focus on running the ball.

"This is just a new wrinkle for us," Dodd said. "Our guys are very familiar with what we have done offensively. They've been running that system for years now, so they understand it. This is something new, so we've had to spend more time with it in camp, but we're still going to make running a priority."

And the other big priority for Blaine, especially after allowing 33 points per game in their final three regular-season games, is defense.

"It's almost imperative that we need to work on defense," Muder said. "Our defense has to be one of our main keys, just like our run game has to be a very good staple of our offense."

The Borderites will debut their new look on Sept. 6 when they travel to Ferndale.

Reach David Rasbach at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2286.

FOOTBALL CAMP UPDATES

This is the eighth of 11 preseason looks at the high school football programs in Whatcom County. Look for the 2013 season preview in the Sept. 6 edition of The Bellingham Herald.

Reach DAVID RASBACH at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2271.

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