PDT Sports Contributor
FRANKLIN FURNACE, Ohio – During the last decade, the Green Bobcats have found very little success on the gridiron.
Green has only had one winning record since the turn of the new millennium (a 6-4 mark in 2005) and has not made a playoff appearance since 1990.
With the struggles of the football program, the Bobcats are hoping a change in philosophy will garner different results.
Ted Newsome, a man whose name has long been synonymous in the Southern Ohio region as he spent many years coaching linemen for the Portsmouth Trojans (where he coached two Division I prospects in Gerald Cadogan and Nate Cadogan) and then coached with the West Senators in 2013, was tabbed to be the next head man of the Bobcats back in March of this year.
Newsome has hit the ground running in Franklin Furnace as he has served in many different capacities beside drawing up the Xs and Os.
According to Newsome, he serves as a “part-time equipment manager, a part-time medic, and a full-time position coach at two or three spots” in addition to the head-coaching duties that the first-year coach has had to fulfill with the Bobcats.
Newsome has not let that work load stop him as he has managed to etch his own offensive scheme into the minds and hearts of the Green football players, as the Flexbone offense will replace the Shotgun and I-formation looks that the Bobcats showed throughout the 2013 season.
In addition to the new offense that Green will be displaying for the upcoming season, the Bobcats will have to find a new leader to orchestrate the run-heavy formation. That leader will come in the form of Ryan Gaffney, who will replace the departing Clay Applegate at quarterback.
“We’re going to be a triple-option football team, and we have a lot of good leaders that can lead our football team,” Newsome said. “As the leader under center, however, (Gaffney’s) going to be our guy. I liken him to a point guard in that he’s going to be expected to get the right play in the huddle and make the right read.”
The man that will be backing him up, however, will have multiple duties on his plate as Tyler Darnell will not only serve as a second-string quarterback, but also as the backup fullback and as a backup wing back in addition to his obligations as a starting wide receiver and corner back.
“(Darnell) epitomizes high school football players,” Newsome said. “He’s a sophomore, and he plays five different positions in practice every day. “He does it all with the greatest attitude, smiles the whole time, has a great work ethic, and he accepts his role on this football team.”
Returning letter-men Wyatt Blevins and Kanyon Bruton will start at the fullback and the first of two A-back positions, respectively, while Brody Stormes, who will be one of a dozen first-year letter men for the Bobcats this season, is expected to be the starter at the second of the two A-back slots.
With Darnell starting at one wide receiver position, it is expected that Alex Otworth, a senior, and Braydon Bush, a sophomore, will split time at the receiver slot opposite Darnell.
Peyton Armstrong will return to spearhead the offensive line from the center position while Trevor Carver and Bryce Salyers will be starting at the guard and tackle positions to the right side of the 6-foot-1-inch, 260-pound sophomore.
On the left side, Justin Woodrow will fill the left guard slot while Nick Sexton will serve as the bookend to the left side of the line at the tackle position. Behind them, Tyler Johnson, Cam Salyers, and Tyler Imes can play multiple positions on the line and could rotate in and out of the lineup over the course of the season.
Defensively, Sexton and Otworth have emerged out of camp to take both of the starting defensive end slots in Newsome’s 4-4 alignment, while Armstrong will start at one of the two defensive tackle positions. However, Woodrow, Johnson, Cam Salyers, and Dakota Martin are entrenched in an ongoing battle to land the second starting defensive tackle slots.
Green’s back seven will consist of Carver and Bryce Salyers at the inside linebacker positions while Blevins and Stormes will be at the outside linebacker slots. Bush is expected to help at either inside or outside linebacker. In the secondary, Gaffney will join Darnell at the corner-back spots while Bruton will be the lone safety out on the field for the Bobcats.
Newsome is more interested in watching his players develop as opposed to talking about the expectations for the upcoming season.
“We are in a situation where we aren’t where we need to be yet physically,” Newsome said. “The work ethic’s there, and the commitment is there, but we’re not there yet physically with our bodies. We’ve gotten in the weight room, we’ve had good attendance, the kids have gotten stronger, and we’ve grown every week, but we’re still climbing that mountain. However, the commitment and effort is there because they have bought into the program.”