WAYNESFIELD – There’s a lot of pride at stake when a former football player returns to his old high school to take over the program.
Also, there are some challenges that go along with taking over a football program.
Tyler Turner, a 2006 Waynesfield-Goshen graduate, takes over the W-G program that went 2-8 (2-4 Northwest Central Conference) in 2013. Doug Foley, who coached the Tigers last season, accepted another position out of state.
Now, Turner gets his opportunity.
“I’m glad to be back home,” Turner said. “I’m teaching here now. It’s always nice to coach where you teach. I was the assistant coach here last year. I’m very excited. I’m anxious to getting back and establishing that pride.”
Turner played football and baseball while attending Waynesfield-Goshen. Turner taught at Kenton and Lima Senior, prior to getting a teaching position at W-G. He was an assistant football coach at W-G in 2013.
One of the challenges Turner faces is trying to assemble consistent offensive and defensive units with just 24 athletes. Offensively, building a cohesive line will probably be the biggest challenge.
“I think that’s the biggest question right now (the offensive line),” Turner said. “There are two seniors on the line and the rest (of the line) we will have to piece together.”
However, Turner is optimistic about the skill positions.
“We have a lot of speed,” Turner said. “I’d like to say that we’ll be a run-dominant team, but we have a lot of new faces on the line and we’ll have to play that by ear. I know we have a very talented backfield and a very talented receiving corp.
“We’ll have a fullback and two wings. We’ll have four, five or six guys who can truly be starters and are still fighting for that starting spot. We have a senior, Lake Turner (5-feet-11, 160 pounds), he played quarterback last year. So, he’s looking to be our starter right now.”
Coach Turner will switch up the offensive scheme this fall.
“Last year, we ran more of a read option,” coach Turner said. “That was kind of our offensive scheme. This year, we’re going to switch things up to a spread Wing-T. We’re going to try to take some of the reads off our young team and put some of that on the coaching staff. We need to establish more consistency on offense.”
Lake Turner, who will play both quarterback and safety, said there is a different mindset this year at Waynesfield.
“This year we picked up the intensity quite a bit,” Lake Turner said. “We hit the weight room hard this winter and we’re ready to play football.”
Defensively, coach Turner plans on keeping it simple.
“Defensive-wise, we’re not changing a whole lot, but we want to get back to sound fundamental and aggressive defense. We like contact this year. …That’s never a bad thing,” Turner said.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers return several players with experience. The defensive scheme for W-G will be a 5-3 set.
“Lucas Gray (5-9, 160, Sr.) is our middle linebacker. He’ll be calling the defense,” coach Turner said. “Brandon Bly (6-3, 230, Sr.) plays a defensive tackle position. Both of those guys have put in tremendous time in the weight room this summer and are really stepping up. Brandon Turner (5-11, 155, Sr.) will be at one of the cornerback spots.”
Gray feels like this year’s squad will be much more aggressive.
“We’re sticking with the same thing as last year (defensively). It’s a 5-3. Our intensity has picked up a lot this year. I think we’ll be a much harder hitting team than last year. So, it will be fun,” Gray said.
Coach Turner is hopeful his young team can come together and improve as the season progresses. The first-year coach wants to be competitive in the NWCC.
“You have to look at Fort Loramie and Sidney Lehman (as the frontrunners),” Turner said. “But I think we’re closing the gap. I’m not saying we are there yet, but our main goal is to win the league.”