Upper Scioto Valley wants to turn the corner this year.
The Rams went 4-6 last year and head coach Dustin Price knows a few less turnovers and a few more scores in the red zone and the team might have produced a winning record.
Price is hoping this year the players returning understand that as a number of skilled players are back for the Rams including quarterback Kadyn Hurley and running back Jackson Rorhs.
A total of eight returning letter winners are back.
“Last year we were competitive in every game but two and that was a good sign that we were competing week in and week out,” Price said. “We just need a find a way to turn that corner and eliminate turnovers and that is a big thing this year.”
With a year under their belts Hurley and Rohrs should be able to protect the pigskin better and the Rams will look to move the ball more with receiver/running back Connor Sanders and tight end Tristan Fisher are back this year.
But these guys will need to rely on a rebuilt offensive line with only one starting returning up front.
“We have only one guy on the line but we have some new guys come out this year and I think we will be pretty solid there,” Price said. “We are still trying to solidify a few spots.”
Defensively, Price said the Rams will boost a lot more team speed and a little more athletic. Sanders anchors the defensive line. As a sophomore, Sanders recorded 68 tackles and a conference leading 11 sacks. He was a a first-team All-NWCC choise.
Because of the amount of returners and starters, Price said the focus has been on bringing together as unit.
“We have such a mixed group of experienced players and inexperienced guys that we are trying to find that medium of getting those younger guys and inexperienced players learn the basics and then while still pushing the older guys to keep advancing their skill sets,” Price said. “We have been focusing on the basics.”
Even though the schedule has changed Price said the preparation and approach remains the same.
“I think it is a game-by-game approach,” Price said. “With our conference and two division winners we still want to play for a conference title …so I would say the overall scheme, yes there is a different approach but we still have to go week by week to attack these games.”
Price said this makes the early games vitally important in the sense that they want to compete for an NWCC title but also evaluating the team and its talent.
“We do have a few question marks in spots and without having scrimmages we don’t know what we have for sure until we see live competition so there could be some major changes following week one because nobody knows,” Price said.
In the end Price said the key to the season is eliminating turnovers and take advantage of opportunities and pointed out they were only 30 percent efficient in the red zone.
“We have to capitalize on those opportunities because they don’t come often,” Price said. “Now that everybody makes the playoffs so anything can happen….As long as we are clicking on all cylinders we will see what happens.”