2017 KHQA Barnstorm Tour-Stop 17: FORT MADISON BLOODHOUNDS

Lennon Barker will be the trigger man for the Hounds new warp tempo Spread Offense


THE SKINNY: Tony Shiffman returns to the Tri-State region for his first head coaching job, taking over a Fort Madison program that floundered to a winless record in 2016. Speaking plainly, the metrics last Fall were pretty lousy in the Fort. The Hounds averaged just 6 points per game and surrendered 48. The upshot here is that the Bloodhounds returns 22 lettermen and 15 starters from that squad.

CHANGING THE PARADIGM: Shiffman's coaching apprenticeship in the powerhouse Central State Eight Conference in Central Illinois clearly made an impact on the man. He has completely revamped the Hounds Offense, trading the old school Wishbone look for a Sacred Heart Griffin/Rochester styled spread attack. The rationale being that the Hounds have athletes that could thrive if given a chance in space. Junior Lennon Barker will command the offense and has a good looking set of Wide Receivers at his disposal led by Shance Redd-Donald. Barker will have the added luxury of working at Quarterback with ex-West Hancock/MacMurray star Coy Dorothy, who is cutting his coaching teeth on Tony Shiffman's staff.

GULLY WASHER: Coach Shiffman thinks very highly of his newly inherited one-back Alex Gully, who certainly looks the part of a determined downhill runner at 6'0 and 185 pounds. He's a low profile runner who gives tacklers a very small target to hit. I like his aggression to the running lane, his durable profile, and his iron clad grip on the football. If there is a breakout talent to be found here, relative to the new scheme, it may well be Gully.

THE E! NETWORK: To an offensive line that already returns Alec Craft, Alex Lauber, Dalton Mabeus, Heath Hoenig an potentially Quentin Estrada, the Hounds have added Baseball standout Elijah Barnes; a 6'3" 250 monster with uncommon mobility and functional strength. Barnes is back after a couple year absence from the sport and looked like a guy who will be an immediate contributor with his fire and great hand pop in blocking drills. Just my opinion, but I do believe all the quick hitting stuff Fort Madison runs this Fall will really help give Fort Madison's line a boost in the development department.

O'TOOL TIME: For all of the issues the Hound Defense had last Fall, I do think the prognosis for this Secondary is fairly bright. Redd-Donald returns after a 34 tackle, 3 interception Junior Campaign. Don't sleep on heady, aggressive Senior Tyler O'Tool either, who fits the exact mold of intelligence and toughness Shiffman is looking for in his future players.

BOLD STATEMENT: May serve as bulletin board material or draw snickers in certain circles, but if I am a Bloodhound player, I absolutely love hearing my new coach come after a winless campaign and say to the local television station that I think six wins is the realistic expectation. That's gutsy, sure but it's also a commitment and investment in the players and the system. That's the kind of stuff that wins you "buy-in" as a new coach very quickly.

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