In Holy Cross coach Eric Rebaudo’s first season, he guided the Tigers to a 5-6 record, tying for third in the Catholic League while advancing to the playoffs as the No. 10 seed before exiting the first round.
In Year 2, Rebaudo expects a leap. After all, the Tigers return 13 starters including quarterback Kyle Schexnayder, wide receiver Bret Carter and Division I recruit Tre’ Turner, a workhorse back who amassed 858 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games.
The variable? The playbook.
Eleven-year Holy Cross assistant Lonn Elzey replaced former offensive coordinator Scott Simpson, who departed for the head coaching job at St. Martin’s, and tweaked the offense.
“I like what’s going on. They seem be communicating better and executing a bit better, but it’s a little bit of a transition for the players,” Rebaudo said following Holy Cross’ spring game against Helen Cox at Hoss Memtsas on Friday.
“We still spread the ball, which we’re comfortable with, but we’re trying to establish more of a run game. I wouldn’t say we’re being vanilla, but we’re definitely trying to get good at a few things before we begin to add more.”
The Tigers scored three touchdowns in the scrimmage, two of them through the air. Schexnayder rebounded from an interception to connect with Carter, who shed defenders down the left sideline en route to a 45-yard score.
A few series later, Chandler Fields tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Rodrigue — the second half of the duo tasked with replacing Georgia commit Michael Chigbu.
Alec Lafrance capped the affair with a 33-yard scamper up the right sideline.
“I was impressed with our run fits and our lane fits, which means there’s been improvement in that area since spring started,” said Rebaudo of his defense.
“We do have some speed in areas, but it’s going to come down to our front line.”
Holy Cross stymied Helen Cox. While the Cougars managed gains of 14 and 22 yards, the offense sputtered under first-year starter Tavis Hart.
“He handled the pressure well. Holy Cross threw a lot of things at (Tart), some blitzes and a lot of different things that he needs to see right now in order to improve as a young quarterback,” Cougars coach Willie Brooks said.
“It was an eye-opener for him, but we’re going to take this, grow from it and get better. When we get all of our athletes out there, he just needs to distribute the ball. We have some veteran guys that will help him grow into the position. He’s going to have to grasp the system in place. It’s early. There is new terminology, a new system that he’s learning in only his second week.”