McGUFFEY — Seventeen.
That is the number of players Upper Scioto Valley head coach Dustin Price will have this year but despite the low numbers he is encouraged by the individuals who did come out for football.
During the off season, Price said the nucleus of the time put in their time and effort to improve and he hopes that translate to their onfield performance.
“I would the winter, spring workouts we had a core group of guys that were committed every day and then this summer I think our overall team attendance was 65-70 percent for the summer,” Price said. “It is not where we want to be but it has been where we have been in the past.”
With a year at the helm for the Rams, Price said he learned what it takes to be the head coach on and off the field and with that experience he understands the process more and this will help him focus on practice, preparation and play.
“I think I learned a lot last year,” said Price, who went 4-6 in his first year. “The adjustment to all the off field stuff like the paper work and the p.r stuff so it is nice having that under your belt and getting used it. On the field it was a major learning experience. I know things now that I can do differently and what things worked.”
With the numbers so low, Price said a number of players will have to play both ways and he expects to play some freshmen and added it will be adjustment for them to go from junior high to varsity in one short year.
“It is going to be a learning curve,” Price said.
Price said offensively it will pretty much be the same except from different formations and a few new wrinkles there.
Taking over the quarterback chores is Quinn Sanders who saw action last year after Jason Moots went down with an injury. Joining Sanders in the backfield will be J.J. Overs and Devan Sousley at the running back positions.
Like the offense, Sanders, Overs and Soulsey will be the cornerstones of the defense.
Price also points to Grant Smith who came on strong last year at linebacker.
“With 17 guys on the roster, we don’t have back up at each position so if someone goes down it is moving people to other players and so players are going to have to know multiple positions,” Price said. “The advantage to that if players know multiple positions they are going to understand the schemes overall so they know what is going around them and not just their job.”
In the end it is going to come down to avoiding injuries and getting off to a good start if the Rams are going to compete this season.
With the low numbers Price understands it is going to be tough week in and week out but the team goals remain the same and that is to win the Northwest Central Conference and make the postseason.
“Every year I want to say we want to compete for the conference but for us we are going to have to compete at a really high level,” Price said. “