The Norman Transcript

Sports

November 14, 2013

Warriors optimistic despite setbacks

NORMAN — Washington may be down without its starting quarterback. But, entering tonight’s first-round playoff matchup against Lexington, the Warriors are far from out.

The biggest reason is that Washington (7-2) has a more-than-capable backup in junior Brady Kulbeth. He entered last week’s game against Lindsay when starter Brock Harmon went down with a torn ACL, and kept the Warriors’ offense running smoothly for the rest of the game.

Washington didn’t win the game, but it did prove that the offense can continue with Kulbeth under center. That will be vital as the second-seeded Warriors host the three-seed Lexington (5-5) at 7 p.m. tonight.

“The team’s going to rally around Brady and, he’s going to lead us,” coach Brad Beller said. “Our offense isn’t geared around one person; it’s geared around the quarterback distributing the ball. And Brady’s going to have a big game for us.”

That doesn’t mean the offense will be the same it’s been all year for the Warriors. Beller said that, while the offense is predicated on the quarterback distributing the ball rather than dominating it, it will adjust based on what Kulbeth is comfortable running.

In large part, that could mean getting the ball to the edges. Kulbeth brings 4.5 40-yard dash speed and Beller said he can “fly” in the open field. However the Warriors balance their attack, it will likely include getting Kulbeth on the edges with room to run.

On defense, Kulbeth also will move into the safety role that Harmon vacated. It’s a slate of new responsibilities for the former receiver, but he’s comfortable with his new role.

“I’m focused on getting the mindset right, to keep everyone calm and ready to come out and want to win more than the other team,” he said. “I’ve done this before and I know I can handle it. There’s a little more pressure, but I’m handling it. We’ll be ready to play.”

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