The inexperience of the senior Titans showed at their home opener last Saturday, but according to head coach Jason Rasmussen, there were some bright spots, and it is way too early to write off the squad.
The Titans opened their season against Innisfail on Saturday, September 5 at home. The two teams played to a 1-1 tie. Coach Rasmussen says it was not too long ago a Titans team had a poor opening, and finished the season on top.
“Just in case the fans are starting to write us off, or think things are going to be gloomy, remember in 2007 when we went to the provincial final we lost the first game of the season,” said Rasmussen.
Despite the unlikely score, Rasmussen said the Titans were moving the ball well on offence and charging up the field. He said they also won the defensive battle.
“Our defence played amazing,” said Rasmussen. “Our defence rarely allowed them to hold onto the ball on our half of the field.”
“Our offence wasn’t struggling either. Our offence moved the ball consistently.”
The difference was the Titans’ keeping possession of the ball. There were bobbles on punt returns and fumbles. There were turnovers also caused by careless penalties.
“It may be endemic on an inexperienced team, not being disciplined on your blocking assignments and not allowing yourself to get your hands where they shouldn’t be, or your block executed where it shouldn’t be,” he said.
Rasmussen adds these are issues that can be addressed, and improved through experience.
“There is going to be a lot of ball security drills and punt return drills this week. The emphasis on the offence is not going to be putting up 50 or 60 points…now the emphasis is going to be on ball security. The yards will come,” he said.
Another story for the Titans was injuries. Their starting quarterback, Mitch Howard, who was hobbled last season with a knee injury, was hit re-injuring himself, and was sidelined. Their back-up Bradon Mahon also fell to an injury that will put him out for a few weeks.
Daulton Smith, who regularly plays wingback, took the field as quarterback for the Titans.
“He had an absolutely outstanding game. He gave everything of himself,” said Rasmussen.
Rasmussen says the Titans currently are looking at who will fill the quarterback role. He says Smith is too valuable as a wingback to be a full time replacement.
“As a team we have to do some soul searching and identify another quarterback so that Daulton can go back to playing his postion because we need him there,” said Rasmussen.
Rasmussen still has a positive outlook for the team.
“Bear in mind we have a young team that will build and grow as the season goes forward, and learn from mistakes,” said Rasmussen.