Updated Fri, Sep 9, 2011 8:44 am
QB Austin Osborne has been an electrifying transfer from Wellston High School for the Jackson Ironmen. He's made an impact in nearly every aspect of the game. He's playing safety for a defense that hasn't allowed a point all season, he's had an 80+ yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and he's running an offense that has racked up 84 points in two games.
The one thing he hasn't been doing a lot of, is passing the ball. In their week one torching of the Wellston Golden Rockets, Osborne threw for a very respectable 7-9 for 97 yards and two touchdowns. However, a good percentage of those were screens and quick hits. Osborne is a converted quarterback, and he still looks to run before he passes on designed rollouts.
In week two, the Ironmen yet again torched their opponent, this time the Waverly Tigers, 49-0. In this contest, however, Osborne threw only five times, completing none of his passes.
We all know Jackson is a running team– it's who they are, and it's their identity. They gained 361 yards rushing against Waverly, and it spurred them to victory.
Before anybody gets too excited by the early dominance, the strength of schedule has been somewhat forgiving for these Ironmen, and it is vital that any conclusions that are drawn be taken with a grain of salt.
Yes, these Ironmen are very, very good. Yes, they've got a great chance to win the SEOAL for a second straight season. But, there is tough competition to be found in-conference, with several teams prepared to match up well with Jackson. Logan held Lancaster's “impressive-even-for-Division-I” running game in check for well over a half, and the Ironmen might need to clear out the eight men they'll be seeing in the box.
Coach Andy Hall has clearly brought Osborne along slowly and the results on the field have proven it to be a prudent strategy. There's a great chance I could be proven wrong, but against Vinton County this Friday, I think Jackson should start giving Osborne more passing attempts than the seven per game he's averaged thus far, especially if they've got the game in hand. People might cry foul, but for Jackson, it's all about developing talent for the season, and a more complete quarterback in Austin Osborne can only mean trouble for the rest of the SEOAL.