Bobcats turn to drawing board for trip to Mason City

When the clock hit zero last Friday night, the Marshalltown football team found itself on the wrong end of a 43-13 defeat to open the season.

Bobcat head football coach Adam Goodvin was obviously looking for a better outcome in his first game at the helm, but after practice on Wednesday he said the players aren’t focused on what they weren’t able to accomplish against Ames, but they have learned from valuable lessons from the loss.

“Spirits have been good. They are up, the guys know the mission and the goal,” he said. “They have been watching film, they got experience last week and watched film on it and learned from it and they are playing like that in practice this week. The only difference this week is we have some film on Mason City obviously, which is better than going in there somewhat blind.”

Having something to study about your opponent really does change the game, as any coach worth their salt will tell you. Also having film on yourself and what you do well and poorly is a boon to any squad, and Goodvin said the Bobcats took time to study both where things went wrong against Ames and what they can do to fix that moving forward.

“On Sunday we had an optional film day and kids came in and we broke down their personal performances and what they could have done better in making reads and blocks,” Goodvin said of the week’s preparation. “Just every little thing and being picky, that’s what they need to become better football players. Monday we finished up our own film and started in to our opponent, and when we watch film on them we look for tendencies and alignments, every little thing we will pick apart and use to our advantage if we can.”

Both Ames and this week’s opponent Mason City have three-year starters at quarterback leading the way, but outside of who’s taking snaps the similarities end between the Little Cyclones and Mohawks.

Where Ames liked to air the ball out, throwing almost 50 times last week, Goodvin said Mason City opts for more of a ground-and-pound approach.

“Offensively they run that kind of old school Georgia Tech type triple option offense,” Goodvin said. “They send guys in motion and run some midline and spread their line out. We have to be fundamentally sound against that and play our gaps and our rules to be successful and I think we have done a good job of preparing them to be successful come Friday.”

Defensively, the Mohawks run a 3-4 up front with a cover-4 scheme from their backfield, making this a unique defense for the Bobcats to face.

“They run an odd front and we don’t go up against that a lot, they run three linemen and will bring some backers at times,” Goodvin said. “They will blitz some guys from different angles and different gaps. They try to play fundamentally sound.”

Last week in its first game against Clear Lake, Mason City gave up 245 yards rushing in a 55-22 loss. Marshalltown struggled to get the rush going in their opening loss, putting up only 76 yards on the ground and most of that coming from quarterback Sam Irwin in the second half.

Goodvin said they will look to establish the rush more this week, despite being down some bodies in the backfield.

“We want to be great at running the football. Giorgio (Diiorio) is out with an ankle injury, he is still hurting. He tried last Friday but was still hurt,” Goodvin said. “With (Alex) Rockingham back there and playing both ways we had to look at Sam to step up and become a running threat and he did, we will look to continue to do that. This week we had to get a couple other guys prepared to get in there because Rock has a heavy load on him, so we’ve got some other guys who are more than capable of carrying the ball. Our offensive line has watched a lot of film looking at that odd front and they know who they are supposed to block, now it’s all about execution.”

On defense against Ames, though the Bobcats gave up quite a few yards through the air they performed well against the rush, and Goodvin said if his guys can continue to play fundamentally sound this week against Mason City they should be in for a good night.

“It all starts with the D-line not getting manhandled by the offensive line and falling into their traps,” he said. “Our linebackers have to be very savvy and play their responsibilities then put their foot in the ground and attack. Same with the safeties, they have to be great run supporters this week.”

This being only his second game as a head coach, Goodvin said the coaching staff as well as the players have had to make adjustments to how they approach things, and as the season progresses both the team and coaches will become more comfortable with preparing to play when they step on the field.

“I think all around we have grown a lot this week in practice, coaching-wise and player-wise,” he said. “Us as coaches had to do a better job of preparing them for Friday night and I think we took a step forward and I think the kids have taken a step forward on the field. We have to go out there and set the tone and play with a lot of physicality and effort, I just hope we execute better and take what they give us.”

The Bobcats and Mohawks are set to kick off on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Mohawk Field in Mason City.