Q&A: Saint Louis OC Ron Lee on No. 4 Campbell

Saint Louis quarterback Jayden de Laura was officially 12 of 13 on his throws in his season debut against Kapolei, but offensive coordinator Ron Lee said he should have been perfect if not for a missed call. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Whether it is at the Division II or Open Division levels, Ron Lee’s ability to teach the four-wide offense continues to yield dividends.

Saint Louis (1-0, 1-0 ILH Open), ranked No. 1 in the Star-Advertiser Football Top 10, takes on another explosive run-and-shoot offense on Friday night in the heart of Ewa Beach. The fourth-ranked Campbell Sabers (1-1, 1-1 OIA Open) are one of the many teams in Hawaii that have adopted and embraced the run-and-shoot. Mirror image of Saint Louis’ offense? In some ways, yes.

Saint Louis’ offensive coordinator chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Tuesday.


HPW: I have to think any defense would be in a lesser-of-two-evils situation against Saint Louis. If you double Roman Wilson, that frees up Matt Sykes, and vice-versa. Yet, your offense has run the ball for touchdowns at a very high rate in the past two years with Jayden de Laura and Chevan Cordeiro at quarterback.

Ron Lee: We spread out, so most teams they try to keep minimum of five, some teams even six in the box. But if you put six in the box that means only four or five guys to cover the receivers. Two years ago with Chev (Cordeiro), we didn’t run. We didn’t really have a RB, Chev was our leading rusher. It depends on how teams defend us. What most teams have problems with is how to defend the QB on running. Chev spread them out, we went empty, now we have five receivers. How do you line up to stop five receivers, then worry about the QB? Do you have to contain him? Do you rush people from the outside? You have to be prepared to hit any one of the receivers as well as handle the pass rush. Teams mixed it up, they blitz and disguise their coverages. That’s a problem for most defenses. I include halves, go 1 1/2 against (a WR), but you give up something and the real key is reading what they have.

HPW: Even thought that was Chevan’s first year as a starter, he was a master at reading defenses and getting that six, seven yards and running out of bounds anytime there was an advantage.

Ron Lee: Chev didn’t start (as an underclassman), but he got a lot of reps and film under Tua (Tagovailoa). He was very underrated. That year, we didn’t have a lot of Division I (college) players. This year we have Roman, Matt, Isaac (Silva), Koali (Nishigaya). And depth. With Chev, we had good receivers, but none of them were D-I (college level). Chev carried us. We were explosive. Everything was built around Chev. He was special. Tua did it his way, but Chev was all we had. He really, really produced. Every year’s different. Tua. Jayden. Timmy Chang. Jayden can run and throw, he was really 13-for-13 (last week against Kapolei). The catch that they said was incomplete, on the film, Isaac caught that. Right now, it’s still early and we have a lot of football yet, but he’s got a good understanding, he’s finding his receivers. He’s doing a lot of good stuff. I’m happy with how he’s approaching offense.

HPW: Mililani lined up and gave the ball to former Saint Louis RB Malosi Sam 43 times for 259 yards against Campbell two weeks ago. I’m thinking your offense won’t have a single rusher with that kind of usage, but the theme might be similar.


Ron Lee: They did a pretty good job on the run. He had a couple of long runs, but outside of that I though they did a nice job. Mililani’s defense was really strong. Campbell got a score on an interception. The QB (for Mililani) had a rough go, three interceptions. Campbell did a good job defensively.

HPW: But I think if they go cover-2 defensively or something like that, you will be more than OK to run the ball against five in the box. Let your O-linemen charge downhill and have a heavier snap count on runs.

Ron Lee: That’s all true, but we don’t go in saying we’re going to run. It’s kind of how they set up, what they do. We have to prepare for six in the box, the blitz package. The coverage. (Campbell) dropped a lot of people against Mililani, rushed three. They mixed it up and showed a lot of stuff, so we don’t know what they’re going to do. We’re going to do what we do and try to get better. We spent a lot of time on our running game. People don’t realize we do. They give us the run, we have to take advantage. But when you have the kind of receivers we have, you’ve got to spread the ball around. We need to get a lot better. We’re not there yet, still make mistakes. We need to play fast. No matter who we play, it’s a big game.

HPW: What have you seen in Campbell’s defense so far? You and Coach Cal (Lee) know their defensive coordinator, Blaze Soares, quite well.

Ron Lee: They’re aggressive, run to the ball. We coached Blaze (at Hawaii) and they show his personality. They’re very physical. We fumbled twice (against Kapolei). Connor (Apo) scrambled around, didn’t get hit, didn’t take care of the ball, and Koali fumbled the very first play. He was running and our guy ran into him and the ball popped out. I was glad we didn’t throw any interceptions. We work hard at practice on ball security. It was hard to play all our guys. We have almost 100 guys. Kapolei is a good team. We want to get everyone in, the morale, the team concept. We don’t worry about stats and we don’t want anyone getting hurt when we’re up two, three touchdowns. People don’t understand. We have good players, no question, but to win every year, you’ve got to play them not just when they’re seniors. Some teams win in a good year, they graduate and they go down. We try to play our second and third groups almost as much as our first group.


HPW: It’s showing a lot this season for your team. The areas where you lost major talent to graduation.

Ron Lee: Cal lost four or five good D-linemen last year. We lost four good O-linemen. It’s a process, trying to play a lot of guys and just keep everything rolling. They don’t come in as great athletes. They grow and work at it every year.

COMMENTS

  1. Vegas dave August 23, 2019 2:17 pm

    Campbell 49
    St. Louis 14
    I called it.


  2. ??? August 23, 2019 3:02 pm

    After tonight’s game you will change your name to (Clueless Dave)! “I called it”
    STL by 21 with ease…


  3. Crusader for Life August 23, 2019 5:20 pm

    Saints 49…Sabers 14…I’m calling it!! Saints will be running away with this game!!
    And this will be with the 2nd and 3rd team play in!!!


  4. How come August 23, 2019 7:02 pm

    How come St. lulu never like play mater dei last year when they got invited at end of season?


  5. ??? August 24, 2019 10:08 am

    @vegasdave , crusader for life
    48-27 Hmmmmmm
    “Exactly what I said”. 21 point STL win!


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