With several options at receiver, the Community Braves will feature an expanded passing game in 2022.
The Braves have five of their top six pass catchers returning for the new year, led by wide receiver Charlie Ott. He led the team with 292 yards receiving and two touchdowns in 2021. Making the move inside to wingback this year, Ott will still be a part of the passing game.
“We plan on opening up the offense this year and it’s great to have a first-team all-district pass catcher for us,” head coach Dustin Blann said. “He’ll more blocking responsibility at the line of scrimmage in our base formation, but also get more touches running the ball and doing different things. He’s got great size and should be able to handle the role.”
Moving Ott inside, coach Blann said it presents more challenges for defenses in an expanded role. With Quinton Hall at the other wing position and Gabe Duron in the backfield, defenses have several options to account for at the line of scrimmage.
“We ask all of our receivers to block, so it’s no different from him inside,” Blann said. “He’s got to continue to develop the mentality, but he should excel and be very good at running the ball for us. He’s good in space and we expect to have a strong lineup with more playmakers.”
With Ott at wingback, that creates roles for Kannon Roan at wide receiver, along with Davis Stanfield, Vincent Bakali and Sheldon Anderson to compete for reps. Roan is also the backup quarterback for the Braves but brings good hands on the outside. Coach Blann said the staff trusts him on the field and likes his work ethic to play both roles for the team.
“He’s a coach’s kid at the end of the day and is your classic gym rat,” Blann said. “He loves the game, and you appreciate kids like that when you have them. He’s gotten better every day and is getting better in the weight room.”
Bakali and Anderson offer more speed in vertical passing situations coming from the track and field team. Coach Blann said that while he sees the team still as a physical, run-first team, he thinks there’s great potential to surprise teams with their passing game.
“These guys have been throwing and catching since the season ended last year and working through the cold and hotter months,” Blann said. “A lot of teams might be surprised by what we have, but there’s a lot of talent in this group.”
With several different players and skill sets to work with, coach Blann thinks his team can open the playbook more with a returning quarterback.
“We want to keep defenses off-balance, and we feel like we’re going to be strong running the football,” Blann said. “From what we’ve seen in 7-on-7 and the offseason, we’re going to be greatly improved throwing and catching. We still have our base and what we like to do, but we can also be more dynamic.”
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By Kyle Grondin • email@example.com