August 17, 2013 11:23:42 PM
By Logan Lowery
Special to The Dispatch
STARKVILLE -- Veteran head coach M.C. Miller's offenses have been lighting up scoreboards for well over a decade.
But this year's edition at Louisville might be his most potent yet.
The Wildcats scored on all five of its possessions Saturday afternoon and stunned West Point 35-14 with an up-tempo, spread offense.
"It's something a little different and something we've been working on," Miller said. "We've got several people coming back and nobody playing both ways so we're playing up-tempo and putting pressure on the defense."
Louisville's offense rolled up 327 yards during the two quarter jamboree. It is an offensive system that offensive coordinator David Boykin adapted from University of Louisiana head coach and Louisville native Mark Hudspeth while serving on his staff at North Alabama.
"I picked up a lot from Coach Hud and learned how to run the up-tempo offense," Boykin said. "When I came back from North Alabama, I installed it and it's evolved over the years. We're pretty good at it. This is the kids fourth year in this system. We come out and tempo people and work at it in practice every day. It's hard to defend it and it's been really good for us."
One of the beneficiaries of the system is senior quarterback Wyatt Roberts, who threw for 3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2012. The six-foot, 200-pounder started his final prep season off on a strong note completing 11-of-15 passing for 261 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday.
"I love this offense," Roberts said. "It's a lot of the same stuff as last year but I've been in the system longer and is started to develop me more as a quarterback. Our receivers make great plays and the line is giving me protection so it's really a dream system for a quarterback."
Louisville's offense is also aided by having former Mississippi State signal caller Omarr Conner on its coaching staff. Conner was a former Mr. Football for Miller at Noxubee County before lettering for four-years with the Bulldogs from 2003-06 as a quarterback and wide receiver.
"I mostly work with the wide receivers," Conner said. "They are mostly seniors so I just try to teach them the things that I learned in college and try to make them better. This is a totally different offense than what we ran when I played under Coach Miller. I like the up-tempo more. If I could have run an up-tempo offense in high school I could have done even more."
The Wildcats ran 32 plays in the two quarter scrimmage averaging 10.2 yards per play and 23.7 yards per completion.
"We want to run a play every 15 seconds," Boykin said. "We want to get up there (to the line of scrimmage), get set and run our play before the defense makes their call. It makes them stay in base defense and they are unable to blitz or bring people when they are still trying to get lined up. We try to use that to our advantage and hopefully it will help us throughout the year."
West Point amassed 261 yards on offense but turned the ball over twice on fumbles.
"I saw that we have a lot of young guys who need some experience," said West Point head coach Chris Chambless. "I didn't think 35 points in two quarters would happen to us but it did and we're only going to get better from it. That's why we play these."
Green Wave tailback Aeris Williams, a Mississippi State verbal commitment, rushed 14 times for 114 yards and a touchdown. Williams finished the day with 184 all-purpose yards.
"We've got some other good running backs besides me who run the ball real well," Williams said. "We've got a great o-line as well but we've still got a lot of stuff to work on. We had some jitters that we needed to get out of us."
1. Columbus Speedway ready to race again LOCAL SPORTS
2. Starkville Academy soccer beats Heritage Academy to reach state final HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU baseball looks to bounce back COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Notebook: MSU falls to Kentucky in overtime COLLEGE SPORTS