HARROD – Wes Schroeder likes to see the ball flying through the air.
So that will be the game plan for the first-year head coach at Allen East.
Schroeder, among his coaching stops, coached the wide receivers at Lima Senior under Mike Fell when they had standout wide receivers Ruben Flowers, Rico Stafford and Demontay Liles.
Schroeder, 2004 graduate of Leipsic, played quarterback for the Vikings. He went on to graduate from the University of Findlay and got his Masters at Bluffton, but didn’t play in college.
Schroeder started his coaching in 2009 as the quarterbacks coach at Leipsic and coached quarterback Liam Nadler.
He coached at Leipsic from 2009 to 2011 and helped them to the playoffs.
From 2012 to 2014 he coached in the Lima Senior middle school program.
In 2015, Schroeder coached receivers in Fell’s pass-happy offense on the Lima Senior varsity.
When Fell left to coach in Arizona in 2016, Schroeder went to Olentangy Liberty, where he coached wide receivers in 2016 and was the offensive coordinator in 2017.
Liberty, which also ran the spread, reached the Division I state semifinals the last two years.
Schroder, in his first heading coaching job, takes over the Mustangs who finished 2-8 last year (1-6 in the Northwest Conference).
The Mustangs’ last playoff appearance came in 2006.
The good news is seven starters return on offense and there will be nine returnees on defense.
So the Wing-T is out.
In its place is the wide-open, Fell-like, pass-heavy spread.
“It’s been a culture change, for sure,” Schroeder said. “(Former) coach (Mike) Abbey is awesome and has been great to me.
“But we’re a spread team and they were a Wing-T. They blitzed a lot. We don’t blitz a ton. It’s who we are. We have white helmets, they had blue. Everything is polar opposite.
“We’ll be a spread team and we’ll be balanced (between the run and pass).’’
Sophomore Tyler Clum, who played quarterback the last seven games, is back at quarterback.
“He looked good in our seven-on-sevens,” Schroeder said of Clum. “He’s very intelligent and he’s a natural leader. He doesn’t have a cannon, but he’s pretty accurate. He’s an extension of our coaching staff.’’
Clum’s top receivers will be veterans Bradden Crumrine and Cole Fletcher. Bryce Belcher moves from quarterback to wide receiver.
“Crumrine is 5-7 135, but he’s a competitor,” Schroeder said. “He goes and catches balls no one on our team can.’’
To balance out the attack, senior Jacob Treglia (5-10, 180) will get the majority of the carries on the ground.
“He’s (Treglia) our leader,” Schroeder said. “He will have to play the most snaps on our team.’’
Three return on the offensive line, guard Jonah Meyer, tackle Trenton Duran and guard Brennan Davies (6-4, 285).
With the new offense, how quickly the offensive line jells will be a huge key.
“We have to find a quality starting five up front,” Schroeder said. “If we’re going to win games, it’s going to happen in the trenches with the offensive and defensive lines.”
Leading the 3-5-3 defense will be veteran senior middle linebacker Dustin Rowe.
Also back is Davies at nose tackle, Jacob Motter at tackle, Meyer at end and Garrett Neth at end.
Neth will also see action as a running back and kick.
Blake Hershberger returns at linebacker.
The secondary will have veterans Treglia at strong safety, Albert Hughes at cornerback and Hunter Paxson at safety.
Schroeder liked his team’s attitude in the preseason.
“They’ve bought in, as much as I could have asked so far,” Schroeder said. “It’s not a secret. We want to win and we want to win early. We want to compete now.’’