Ragan McDaniel brings air raid offense to Hamilton Christian

Hamilton Christian hired Ragan McDaniel as its football coach.
Hamilton Christian hired Ragan McDaniel as its football coach.(KPLC)
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 5:15 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Hamilton Christian Athletics Director Dexter Washington wanted an offensive mind to take over the reins of the Warrior football program. Washington found his guy, luring Ragan McDaniel from Texas back to his home state of Louisiana.

McDaniel heads to HCS after nearly 20 years in the Longhorn state. Most recently, McDaniel was the offensive coordinator for Legacy Prep Christian Academy in Magnolia, TX. During his six seasons with the Lions, the offense increased its scoring by double en route to five straight playoff appearances.

He plans to bring that same type of improvement to the Warriors.

“A lot of people run the wing-t or veer or offenses like that, and that’s great if that’s the type of system they want to run. Scoring 20-something points per game, which is what a lot of those offenses average. I like to widen that gap,” McDaniel said. “We will average over 40 points and 550 yards per game. You just have to create a defense that can get us the ball back. I tell my defensive coordinator, you just need to give it to me once. That’s all I ask for because we are going to score when we have the ball.”

His air raid offense will be a change of culture for 1A football in Southwest Louisiana.

“When you look at the highlights on TV, you’re not seeing guys running for three or four yards,” said McDaniel. “I like to put on a show. We are going to snap the ball every 15 seconds and go down the field. We’re going to throw the ball all over the place and run it. I like to get a lot of plays in.”

The air raid offense, made famous by Hal Mumme and Mike Leach at Kentucky, is a shotgun-based pass-first offense that is run out of shotgun utilizing short passing concepts to take advantage of the open field.

“I’ve worked with Hal Mumme through the years in the air raid, up to the masters level. I’m in the top two percent of the country when it comes to the air raid offense,” said McDaniel. “That’s how I’ve developed through that system and it’s what I love doing. It puts on a show.”

While the offense will typically throw the football up to 75% of the time, McDaniel said they aren’t afraid to lean on the run game.

“The whole perception of the air raid is that we are going to throw it 60 to 70 times a game,” said McDaniel. “I want you to think that, because if you put five in the box, then we will run it every single time.”

That is the strength of the air raid offense. The team’s quarterback is given the autonomy to check into different plays based on the defense.

“I work one-on-one with my quarterback and give him the opportunity to make decisions on the field and once that trust is developed, it goes both ways,” McDaniel said. “Once we have that trust factor, he’ll come to the line of scrimmage with one or two plays he can switch to.”

This is McDaniel’s third time as a head coach with both stops in Texas.

Despite success on the field, McDaniel said his focus has always been on the bond he has with his players.

“I never talk about wins or losses, instead it’s about relationships,” said McDaniel. “Once you build relationships with these kids, they see that you’re here for them and you build that trust, then they don’t want to let you down and will give you everything they have. I’ve been a successful coach by building relationships and not focusing on wins and losses.”

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