We begin our look at District 4-2A Div. I with the Olney Cubs. They're suiting up for their third coach in three seasons.
One difference you'll notice immediately is a change in philosophy.
Gone is the spread offense that put up some points, but didn't lead to any wins in 2013, in is new head coach Mark Young. He's looking to establish a physical identity on both sides of the ball.
"The biggest factor is just getting them to commit to something higher than themselves," Young said. "We've got to get more of a team mentality, and be willing to lay it on the line for each other and for the coaches."
His players already seem to be buying into his offense.
"We're running down your throat," says junior fullback Drew McVicker, who made all-district last year as a sophomore. "We ran the spread last year, so it's a little different."
"I like the new offense because we've got a lot of people in the right spots this year," says junior lineman Cody Harvey. "Last year, we didn't have people in the right spots. The aggressiveness is fun. It's a smash-mouth offense."
But one thing Coach Young will need to figure out is who will be under center to lead the offense. Neither sophomore Brent McCorkle or junior Justin Garza, nor any other signal-callers on the roster, have any varsity experience.
"I've got three quarterbacks who've not played varsity football," Young said. "So it's going to be a building year. I'm going to put a lot at them, and I'm going to hold them responsible for a lot of things."
The new, aggressive offensive mentality also carries over to the defense.
"I think we're a little more aggressive than we were last year," McVicker said. "They've got us coming at them hard. Just like the offense, I think it's just, 'run down your throat.' And then we're gonna kill anything that comes towards us."
The Cubs hope the new mindset will lead to snapping a 21-game losing streak that goes back to the end of the 2011 season.
"If we got that first win, against Baird, that would be great," Harvey said. "Because everybody thinks we're not going to win a game. Nobody thinks we're going to go to the playoffs."
"It may be the first game, it may be the fifth or sixth game," Coach Young said. "But somewhere down the line, it'd be nice if we could get that first or second win under our belt, just get a little more confidence built in the kids down here. Because they're working hard, and we deserve a win."
The Cubs will get that chance for a win August 29th on the road against a Baird team that was 2-8 last season.
Tuesday, we'll continue in District 4-2A D-I with the Archer City Wildcats!
Olney Cubs 2014 Schedule