Herbert Hoover might have surprised its fans when it opened up Saturday’s scrimmage at Riverside in a five-wide receiver set. After all, the Huskies aren’t traditionally known as a wide-open passing offense.
In fact, when Rhett White threw for 1,137 yards last season, it marked the first time a Hoover quarterback had thrown for 1,000 or more yards since Carter Coleman in 2011.
With the return of White and three of his top receivers — Jon Bradley, Zach Spencer and Evan McGraw — the Huskies might air it out a bit more than usual this season.
“We wanted to see what we could do,’’ Hoover coach Tim Meyer said of the opening passing formation. “It’s probably been back since 2010 that we [started a scrimmage that way]. We wanted to see how we did it fresh. I don’t think it’s one of those things we’re going to be relying on all the time, but it is one of the things we’re going to be kind of playing around with.’’
Welcome to AA
When Zach Davis left Riverside in the off-season to become coach at Nitro, he not only changed teams, he changed conferences — going from the Class AAA Mountain State Athletic to the Class AA Cardinal.
However, Davis didn’t come into the new league completely unprepared. In recent years, he spent a lot of time talking to former Nitro coach Bryce Casto, who stepped down following last season and eventually became the athletic director at South Charleston.
“Bryce and I would talk all the time about different personnel from other teams, different schemes,’’ Davis said. “It’s always fun to watch a game here [at Nitro]. I brought my little girl to a game here last year when it was our off week [at Riverside]. I thought it was a great place, great atmosphere. It’s another reason why I’m here.’’
Davis also admits to being a junkie for the Hudl website, where players and teams store their game videos and highlights. He said he needs to spend time there to get up to speed with his new league.
“I love watching Hudl,’’ he said. “I guess most coaches are that way, but I really enjoy it. The MSAC is all spread except for [Cabell] Midland and Spring Valley, but in the Cardinal Conference, you’re everywhere as far as offensive schemes, defensive schemes. It’s been fun watching film.’’
Vance ready to advance
It’s been close to 10 months since Winfield lost speedy Nick Vance to a knee injury — as a sophomore running back, he was leading the team in rushing when he went down in the fifth game last season.
Vance hasn’t returned to full speed just yet, said coach Craig Snyder, but he’s getting there. Vance, now the team’s quarterback following the graduation of Andrew Huff, flashed his quicks during a live team session last week.
“He’s a tick slower,’’ Snyder said, “and he doesn’t have the exact same running motion, but on the first play from scrimmage he runs 50 yards for a touchdown. Same old Nick. So I don’t think it’s going to matter.
“He’s always been a quarterback. He was a quarterback in middle school. As a freshman, you do what you have to do and we had Andrew, so we played him at running back. He’s always said, ‘I’ll do whatever you want me to do. Whatever’s good for the team.’ So that’s what he is, an athletic quarterback.’’
Versatility their ability
Besides having a workhorse running back in Ethan Payne, Poca coach Seth Ramsey is happy to have the services of junior Owen McClanahan and senior Luke Spradling, two versatile players he can plug in plenty of places on either side of the ball.
McClanahan last season carried 64 times for 303 yards and one touchdown and caught 15 passes for 300 yards and five scores. Spradling had 13 catches for 201 yards and three TDs.
“McClanahan does a little bit of everything,’’ Ramsey said. “He catches passes, runs the football, returns punts, returns kicks. On defense, we’ll play him at safety or corner, and some at linebacker. He’s almost like an old school football player — always around the ball. Spradling moves all over the place for us, too. We’re glad those two guys are back.’’