BLUFFTON – Family is a top priority for Aaron Krepps in his personal and professional life and now that he is the head of the Bluffton football team he hopes to instill those same family values that will hopefully lead to success on the gridiron.
After two years as the offensive coordinator for the Beavers, Krepps accepted the Beaver head coaching job and replaced Denny Doyle who resigned after four seasons to take an athletic director position at Franklin County high school.
The Beavers went 4-6 and 4-4 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference last year .
Krepps, who was a head coach at the high school, takes over his first head coaching job at the collegiate level. Prior to joining Bluffton, Krepps sent two season as at Ohio Northern University as the receivers coach. Before he came to Ada, he was the running backs coach at Alderson Broaddus University. He also had several assistant coaching stints at Adrian College and his alma mater Belle Vernon High school.
“It has always been a goal of mine and I definitely had aspirations to become a head coach and the timing and opportunity presented itself and fortunately I was selected or promoted and it worked out well,” Krepps said.
Krepps added that he has served under some great head coaches and will draw from his experiences and advice from them to help him as a head coach but it is his father that has influenced him the most in his coaching style.
“You tailor things to kind of what your beliefs are,” Krepps said. “A lot of it is probably my upbringing. My parents, my father, has a huge influence on me still to this day. But I think a lot of how I structure things and dealing with relationship comes from that upbringing. In our home life our number one program value is family.”
Krepps is looking to transcend these ideals to the Beavers. Off the field, the new head coach stresses to his players that family comes first followed by academics.
On the field, Krepps expects the culture to be about accountability and discipline which he adds also comes from his upbringing.
“Details are important to us and we are constantly trying to teach our young men within the program and that is what we want to do on Saturday,” Krepps said. “If somebody comes and doesn’t know the program or knows football but doesn’t know who we are, I hope they walk away and said we played with great energy. Our guys gave a great effort and then hopefully we executed well.”
Because he was on the Beavers’ staff the last two years, most of the players understand where Krepps is coming from and the transition has been easier for a new head coach unfamiliar with the program.
Krepps credits the players for playing a part in the smooth transition.
“It is going really well and I am excited where we are at,” Krepps said. “The boys have bought into kind of the direction I would like to head. The boys have made the transition have made it a lot easier and I am fortunate and grateful for that.”
One area Krepps will not have to make too many changes is the offense. As the offensive coordinator the past two seasons, Krepps has been the guiding force the high-flying Bluffton offense that was 37th in the country in passing offense averaging 414 yards a game in 2017.
Gone from the Bluffton offenseis all-region receiver Micah Robertson who graduated. The Ada product set numerous school records including most 100-yard receiving games in a season, most receptions in a game, most receptions in a season, and most 100 yard receiving games in a career.
Despite the loss of Robertson, the Beavers have an experienced receiving corps returning that includes Keyon Camden, Lucas Espitia, Thaddeus Phillips, Drake Campbell, Hunter Morrison and Adam Duncan. Wapakoneta’s Kais Chiles is expected to start at the tight end spot.
Senior signal caller Brandon Koch made six starts as a junior and completed 141 passes for 1,578 yards and 15 touchdowns.Competing for playing time is Perry product Plummie Gardner.
Along with a lot of weapons to chose from at the wide receiver spot, the Beavers feature Darian Greeley out of the backfield. A first-team all-HCAC selection, Greeley led the conference with 6.1 yards a carry and in eight games finished with 782 yards and seven touchdowns and caught nine balls for 85 yards out of the backfield.
Up front offensive lineman Ethan Williams, a Van Wert graduate and two time all-Heartland Conference honoree and junior Ian O’Donnell, a 2016 all-conference selection, anchor the Beavers’ line.
“Heading into week one this year we are a lot further along that we were last year and it comes with the comfort ability,” Krepps said. “Returning a starter at quarterback helps and we have an all-conference running back back. We have a real nice nucleus back on the offense and you can see that in their practice and playing.”
Krepps said do not expect any major changes but adds there may be some new wrinkles integrated into the offense.
The biggest changes for the Beavers this year comes on the defensive side. Josh Runda has been hired as the defensive coordinator this season.
“Defensively it is a new system and a new style of play that we haven’t here,” Krepps said. “We replace most of the defensive staff from last year so we reconfigured a couple of guys on the staff already and brought in two new full time coaches.”
Runda will have a wealth of talent to work highlighted by 2016 HCAC defensive player of the year Isaac Zickafoos. The senior defensive lineman recorded 51 tackles five sacks and forced two fumbles.
Also returning on the defense is junior linebacker Dylan Shaffer who recorded 80 tackles, along with Austin Hall and Bath product Dylan Burkholder.
Seniors Tyler Showalter and Doniven Clark have a combined 45 starts for the Beavers.
Krepps adds that the players appear to be adapting to the new system.
“They are going through a lot but they have handled it well and I am really excited about where we are at defensively.”
With the talent and optimism, Krepps is excited about the season but knows full well it is going to be tough especially with the school’s schedule and the always dangerous HCAC teams that include perennial powerhouse Franklin, along with Rose-Huelman and Mount St. Joseph,
“Expectation wise I don’t think anything has changed with us,” Krepps said. “We feel we are program that can compete for this conference and we have the personnel to do it and putting things together and taking the next step.”