Mims trying to find cure for PCA players’ fumble-itis epidemic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 13, 2001

[9/13/01]Porters Chapel Academy coach Bubba Mims is hoping he’s found a cure for the most dreaded disease a team can have fumble-itis.

Mims started with some wet, grimy footballs, added a pinch of drills and work on fundamentals, and mixed it all up with a heavy dose of scrimmages in an effort to break the Eagles’ case, which has claimed a half dozen possessions in their first two games.

PCA (1-1), which travels to Union (0-2) Friday night, has turned it over four more times on interceptions and recovered five more of its own fumbles.

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“You’re looking at 15 or 16 fumbles in two games. We’ve got to learn to hang onto the ball,” Mims said. “We’re doing what we can. I noticed on film a couple of times that we’re looking downfield before we get the ball.”

So Mims worked with several of his skill-position players this week on how to handle handoffs. The Eagles rotate in five players at running back, with T.J. Smith and Josh Rush getting the bulk of the carries.

Mims said he also let several footballs soak in a container of water overnight, then practiced with them the next day. So far, the tactics seem to be paying off. He said the Eagles have had two good days of practice this week.

“Half of it’s confidence,” said tight end Chris Simms, who leads the team with four catches for 77 yards, and has also had a few carries at running back. “They just have to believe that they can hold on to it.”

Confidence may be easy to gain against Union, if you believe Saints coach Randy Holloway. He said his outmanned squad has struggled mightily in its first two games, losing both by a combined score of 81-7.

The Saints, who went 6-4 last season, have only 15 players on the roster two of whom have high school experience.

“Nobody,” Holloway said when asked which of his players have looked good so far. “We’ve only scored one touchdown and haven’t made anybody punt yet.”

Holloway added that the advantage in numbers the Eagles enjoy PCA has about 30 on the roster should give them the edge.

Mims, however, said that wasn’t quite the case.

“I pretty much figure we’re even. We may have more on the roster, but as far as people playing, we’ve got about 15 or 16 who get a lot of playing time,” he said.

Friday’s slate of high school football won’t be affected by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., but the aftermath has trickled down to this game between tiny Academy-A schools.

Trinity coaches sent Mims a game tape against Union via Federal Express. Because the company’s planes have been grounded, however, the tape has yet to arrive and Mims has had to script a game plan without the benefit of videotape.

“It’s hard to prepare for somebody you haven’t seen, but it’s also good because you don’t see them and say, They’re too big,’ or, They’re too fast,’ ” PCA defensive lineman Michael Guynes said.

Other than that, however, it was hard to detect any effects of Tuesday’s violence. Mims, also PCA’s athletics director, said there had been no talk of postponing any football games, and no parents have asked him to consider it.

“The way I look at it, the reason they did that is to try and change our lifestyle and the things we do. If we change it too much, then they’ve succeeded,” Mims said.

Simms agreed.

“The way I see it, we’ve just got to live our lives, because there’s not much we can do about it,” he said.