Previously a backup quarterback, Haynes is expected to see time at fullback in today’s game at Kentucky Christian.
Several Reinhardt players who played the last two weeks did not make the trip Friday to Grayson, Ky. Among them are defensive backs D.J. Sellers and Deion Shelton, running back P.J. Greene and linebacker Chas Pierce, the former Woodstock High School standout. Receiver Nathen Lingo and running back Ian McIntosh, who have yet to play this season, will also be held out with broken bones.
Coach Danny Cronic said many of the injured players are waiting on clearance from their respective insurance providers in order to received needed tests such as MRIs.
“Those things have been set up for some of them, and they aren’t able to happen until Monday,” Cronic said.
With Greene, who entered the season atop the depth chart at running back, out since suffering an injury in the opening series of the Mercer game two weeks ago, Deonte Dennis and T.C. Carter have been taking most of the snaps in the backfield. Carter, however, is suffering from a bruised shoulder, moving Haynes into the mix.
Furthermore, receiver Sam Jones also has a bruised shoulder.
“We have kind of had to revamp,” Cronic said. “I see, at the college level, that you have to have depth. A player might think, ‘Shucks, I’m not going to get in,’ but you can go from fourth-team to starting within two weeks. It’s just kind of the way it comes about.”
Cronic addressed the issue of Haynes moving to fullback directly.
“To have a quarterback move to fullback is kind of strange,” Cronic said. “(Haynes) understands where to go. He had a pretty good week at practice. He’s a good kid.”
Among the constants for the Eagles (0-2) have been fullback L.J. Stegall and the quarterback duo of Johnathon Chamblee and Ryan Thompson.
Stegall has been the force for the Eagles on the ground, rolling up 250 yards and six touchdowns through two games.
Chamblee and Thompson are equally skilled at quarterback. While Chamblee has started both games, Thompson has entered in the second half and kept the offense moving.
Chamblee said the key part of working in a two-quarterback system is not getting jealous of the other guy.
“In a two-quarterback system, you can’t be selfish,” he said. “I mean, whenever I go in, Ryan supports me and, whenever he goes in, I support him. I want us to win the game.”
Cronic said Kentucky Christian (1-1) employs a lot of defensive slants and shifts, which means Reinhardt will have to be keen to zones instead of man-to-man coverage.
“They play their coverages up very tight, which makes it very challenging,” Cronic said. “That means, if you don’t have a bust or something, you have a chance for a big play. If some of their plays bust, then we have a chance for a big play. We hope we have a lot of that going on.”
The Lindsey Wilson offense that the Eagles faced last week was very pass-heavy. Kentucky Christian, on the other hand, is much more balanced.
“They run, pass and put a little option in there,” Cronic said. “They are more traditional.”
The Knights lost a weather-shortened opener against the defending NAIA champion Marian 23-0 two weeks ago, then improved to 1-1 by beating Bethel 24-10.
“They played really well last week,” Cronic said. “It’s going to be a challenge. It’s hard to compare them to (Lindsey Wilson), but they may be even better than that. You can tell they improved a lot from Week 1 to Week 2.”
One thing Reinhardt is trying to move away from is just having moral victories.
In the first play from scrimmage in program history, Juice Arnold intercepted a pass to silence a ruckus crowd at Mercer. A week later, in their opening game a Ken White Field, the Eagles scored 21 unanswered points against Lindsey Wilson to close within five points after trailing by 26 going into the third quarter.
Reinhardt has lost its two games by a combined eight points.
“There are some moral victories, but they don’t substitute for the other,” Cronic said. “We don’t want to lose sight of that fact. You can’t concentrate on winning as much as you can on executing, which is what produces the win. That is what we are trying to do.”