NCCU's Reid, Foster look to put the 'foot' back in football

Sep. 10, 2013 @ 10:30 PM

N.C. Central ran the ball better over the weekend in a double-overtime win against Saint Augustine’s than it did in Week 1 during a loss at Duke, NCCU interim coach Dwayne Foster said Tuesday.

But NCCU had better shore up its inconsistent ground game before dealing with upstart Charlotte on Saturday (noon, NCCUEaglePride.com), he added.

Early in the second quarter against Saint Augustine’s, two Falcons dropped NCCU’s Idreis Augustus in the backfield for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-two in the red zone, 12 yards away from the goal line.

On NCCU’s next offensive series, Saint Augustine’s middle linebacker Chaz Robinson planted Eagles running back Andre Clarke behind the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-one on the Falcons’ 37, never mind that quarterback Jordan Reid on the previous play scrambled for 9 yards to put NCCU in position to gamble.

Reid, in fact, carried the ball seven times for 20 yards. That was just in the first half.

At the start of the third quarter, goose eggs on the scoreboard, Reid apparently had made up his mind in the locker room that NCCU needed his legs as much as his arm.

“I wanted to establish myself as a dual threat … because (against Duke) I really didn’t have any rushing yards, and I am a dual-threat guy, so I just wanted to establish that part of my game,” Reid said. “(After the Duke game) my coach was kind of criticizing me because I was acting like I wasn’t a dual-threat guy, and that’s what I am — a dual-threat guy — and I just wanted to use my legs more.”

Reid didn’t run the ball a single time against Duke but toted it a bunch against Saint Augustine’s, a game-high 21 carries, his work yielding 45 yards and a touchdown.

During the opening drive of the third quarter, Reid secured a shotgun snap and, without making any reads, took off running. The redshirt-senior had gains of 15, 4, 4, 5 and 2 yards, setting up a 25-yard field goal-try that Oleg Parent missed.

NCCU’s defense held, giving Reid the opportunity to loft a jump ball in the end zone that wide receiver Lamar Scruggs plucked out of the air.

The point-after failed. Reid, normally the holder for extra points and field goals, got hurt while throwing to Scruggs. Backup holder Brandon McLaren, a redshirt freshman, mishandled the snap.

That botched snap underscores Reid’s importance to what the Eagles want to do offensively, punctuated by the fact that he left his fingerprints on every NCCU score against Saint Augustine’s. He threw two touchdown passes in regulation, and the touchdown he ran forced that critical double-overtime session. Reid was the holder for Parent’s winning field goal.

Yet Foster expressed no worries about losing Reid’s services should all of his running lead to an injury.

“Jordan is our runner,” Foster said. “We do have designed runs for him, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Reid said that quarterbacks getting popped is part of the game.

“I try not to take too many hits, but I have to do what I have to do to finish the game and win the game,” Reid said.

Reid, sacked five times by the Falcons, wasn’t much safer in the pocket.

Foster said injuries have caused some disruption on the offensive line, but those big guys need to jell.

“We’ve got to do better up front to create running lanes for our running backs,” Foster said.

Augustus, who had 66 yards on 14 carries against Saint Augustine’s, said he needs to develop more chemistry with the offensive linemen, but NCCU’s running backs in general must be more productive.

As for Reid scooting around all over the field, Saint Augustine’s was dropping guys into pass coverage, creating pathways he believed he ought to explore, Foster said. Sure, Reid needs to be mindful to go through his progressions to find open receivers, but he understands that he’s not just a pocket passer, Foster said.

“He knows that using his legs as a weapon can help get us out of some tough situations if things break down in protection,” Foster said.