Learning the playbook a big part of the offseason

Yaneek Smith

High school football teams in Ohio are given 10 camp days to work together in July and then begin two-a-days on August 1. This time together allows teams a chance to build chemistry, learn the playbook and watch film in an effort to prepare for the upcoming season.
Coaches can attest to the importance of getting things done during the offseason. It was especially important last summer for Cardinal Stritch coach Bryan Dudash, who oversaw a four-win improvement (1-9 to 5-5) for his team last season. It was also vital in the offseason one year before as Dudash had to install a new offense.
Genoa coach Paul Patterson must replace 12 starters on both sides of the ball. The Comets are coming off a 12-1 season, won a Northern Buckeye Conference title and advanced to the Division V regional final.
"We lost some pretty important pieces to last year's team, but I think we have a good core coming back. I think we're progressing well and I like where we are right now. It's a new season and a new
leadership group. That's what you build in these 10 days, leadership roles.
"One thing we've done is adjust the playbook to what our talent is and to the kids we have — there are some things different than what we did in the past, and some things similar. We have our base system in. We'll tweak things on both sides of the ball."
More than anything, Patterson wants his players to buy into the program.
"The biggest thing is effort and attitude. It's about coming in with the right attitude and putting in the effort. For three hours, come and give us a great effort.”
Eastwood, under the direction of Craig Rutherford, who is now in his third season coaching the team, regressed a bit last year and finished 6-4 after nearly winning the Division V state championship in 2017, finishing as state runner-up. The Eagles lost just six starters and are primed for a bounce back.
"It's nice before the season starts to try some new things and try to build on this year's team. Most successful programs are going to be fairly consistent from year to year," said Rutherford. "You want to see your guys do well and build on that as much as possible.
"I really like our guys this year. It's great in the summer when you can get everybody together and you start to see a lot of progress being made. Like everyone else, we won't know how good we are until we put on the pads.” 
For Rutherford, paying attention to detail and taking care of the small stuff is vital to the team's success.
"I think any successful team, one of the reasons that they do so well is because they pay attention to the little things. There's always going to be a couple games in the season that will come down to a couple points. In those games, the details become even more important," he said. 
"Obviously, we expect to win those games. I think the seniors on the team — the way they work really is what drives the work ethic of the team. The younger guys are going to look to the older guys to know how to practice and how we expect to compete."


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