Transition under way for Hounds

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Eastern New Mexico University freshmen quarterbacks Anthony Ramos front, Cory Baker, center, and Carl Bouldin, at practice Wednesday, are battling for next season’s starting spot to replace departing senior Michael Benton.

By Dave Wagner: CNJ staff writer

Eastern New Mexico University football coach Mark Ribaudo believes the Greyhounds’ transition from a wishbone-style offense to a mainly one-back set won’t be that tough an adjustment for the team’s running backs.

They figure to be prominent in the new scheme.

“It’s a lot easier to run a (pass) route than it is to block an outside linebacker,” Ribaudo said as the Greyhounds work into their second week of spring drills.

Backs will still have a ballcarrying workload, but Ribaudo said the Greyhounds will also use them prominently in the more wide-open passing attack they plan to implement.

The Hounds have an intrasquad scrimmage set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Greyhound Stadium. Ribaudo said the team is busy getting the plays in this week.

“We’ll spend the next couple of weeks evaluating what works,” he said.

Four quarterbacks are in spring camp, with several recruits expected join the competition in August for preseason drills.

For Anthony Ramos, who saw action in several games last fall as a freshman and earned a start against Tarleton State, the transition isn’t that hard.

After all, he quarterbacked a similar offense during his high school days in Canyon, Texas.

“I came (to ENMU) from a shotgun, no-huddle system at Canyon,” said the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder. “I think I’ve been able to pick this up pretty quick.”

Ramos said he’s looking forward to the increased competition when preseason camp begins.

“Hopefully, we’ll have an edge,” he said of the QBs currently on hand. “It’s not an easy system to learn.”

With only about 70 players in spring drills, depth has been a concern in some areas, Ribaudo said.

“You’d like more bodies when you go so hard, so you can give people rest,” he said.

He described the attitude of the players as “terrific” this spring.

“I’m super-pleased,” he said. “We’re practicing hard and playing fast, and we’re finishing (plays).

“It’s different from other springs, where you go in with an idea of what you’ve got. But now we’re starting from square one, and it’s exciting.”

The Hounds’ triple-option approach has provided an advantage against opponents in the past because teams have little time to prepare for something they generally see only once a year.

In today’s more wide-open game, though, it simply wasn’t enough to keep pace with other teams.

“I think our coaches realized something needed to change,” Ramos said. “But it doesn’t mean the option is gone. We’re still going to run it.”