Hoover back to the grind
Herbert Hoover doesn't look at it like throwing in the towel. More like throwing its hat into the ring as a playoff contender.
The Huskies are ditching their spread offense, which has seen them throwing the ball all over the park the last few years. With since-departed quarterback Carter Coleman doing the bulk of the work, Hoover attempted 211 passes in 2010 and 215 more last season.
That number figures to be significantly lower this year as the Huskies opt for a more conventional offense powered by their rushing attack.
"You've just got to get back to that mentality,'' said Hoover coach Tim Meyer. "We're going to work and get after it in practice, and hopefully it will carry over to the game field.''
Hoover sank to a 2-8 record last year after making the Class AA playoff field under Meyer the two previous seasons.
Meyer thinks his new ground-bound offense can succeed because he's got a number of options at the ball-carrying positions.
He's certainly got some athleticism at running back, because seniors Joey Forbes and Cody Farmer were two of the team's top targets in the spread offense a year ago. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Forbes, a four-year starter, caught 22 balls for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
Other candidates to lug the ball are senior Tyler Hoffman and sophomore Shawn Dotson.
"We've probably got four, five kids who have really stepped up and done a nice job for us,'' Meyer said of his running back corps. "I think we can move the ball [with multiple runners]. The offensive line has done a nice job. They've got that mindset of coming off the ball and moving their feet.''
Cody Bowen (6-2, 209) and Zane Weese (5-11, 222) are multi-year returning starters on the offensive line.
The quarterback job will go to either junior Brenden Holbrook or sophomore Tyler Americo, each of who got a little work last year in the more wide-open attack. Americo was 8 of 21 passing for 102 yards and Holbrook 4 of 7 for 53 yards.
"Our quarterbacks can do some nice things with their feet, too,'' Meyer said. "It's going to be a tough decision there. There are possibilities there.''
On defense, Hoover returns six starters, the same number it brings back on offense. However, the Huskies allowed 29 points per game last year and must improve on that figure.
"One of the things we're not lacking is experience,'' Meyer said. "I feel really good about the defense because we had some holes we had to fill last year, and we had some kids step up for us.''
Meyer thinks the postseason is a reachable accomplishment, but his team needs to develop more consistency than it showed in preseason scrimmages.
"It's been one thing or another,'' Meyer said of the scrimmages. "It's been a mixed bag. Sometimes we look really good and sometimes you can tell we're struggling a little bit.
"I think it's always your goal to start out with the thought of making the playoffs, but with the schedule we face it's going to be a tough nut.''
Two teams in Hoover's conference, the AA Cardinal Conference, played in the state finals last year - Wayne beating Point Pleasant. Point has since moved up to AAA.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.