SIDNEY — Not much is going to change schematically for Sidney’s offense this year — but the coach calling the plays is.
Frank Crea is taking over as Sidney’s offensive coordinator this season and is taking advantage of the team’s extended preseason practice schedule to go over changes. The Yellow Jackets used their second of 10 summer practice days on Wednesday, and much of the focus was on the offensive side of the ball.
“We were going over some of the new terminology and getting the basics down,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “Early on was a lot of individual work and working on specific stuff for your position, and we started putting some pieces together towards the end. As coaches, we’ve got to keep reminding ourselves it’s still June, so we can’t get anxious if things aren’t done right.”
Crea joined Sidney’s staff as an offensive line coach last season. He was Lima Shawnee’s head coach in 2016 and 2017 and previously served as Lima Senior’s defensive coordinator from 2013-2015. He has also had coaching stops at Upper Scioto Valley and Ada among others.
Crea takes over for Greg Snyder, who orchestrated the team’s high-scoring offense since 2015 and had been on staff since 2013. Snyder was recently promoted to assistant principal at the high school, and district regulations prevent him from coaching while working in an administrative position.
“Each person has their own individuality in how they want to do things,” Doenges said. “We’re basically the same offense, but you want to make things comfortable and make the verbiage and stuff probably more comfortable for the coordinator than anyone else.
“At first glance, it’s going to look like we’re running the same stuff — and we are, it’s just for the kids they’ll be some differences in how we call things because that’s what Coach Crea is familiar with. There’ll be a few different wrinkles, too, but for the most part we’re still going to be shotgun, still going to be spread.”
The Yellow Jackets racked up yards and points with Snyder calling plays. Sidney set a school record with an average of 472 yards in 2017 and averaged 41.2 points, which is the third-most for a single season.
“He had a lot of great parts, but when you have good parts, you’ve still got to be able to mesh it,” Doenges said. “When you have a bunch of good athletes and a bunch of good parts, they deservingly all want the football, so you’ve got to find ways to give all those guys the football, whether it’s a lot of receivers or having guys like Andre Gordon and Isaiah Bowser in the backfield at the same time.
“… The big thing that Greg has done is diversified our offense a little bit. It’s a little more dynamic where you get the ball in a lot of different guys’ hands, and we’re going to continue that.”
Sidney averaged 301.9 yards and 23.5 points per game last season. Several key offensive players are slated to return, including senior receiver Lathan Jones (24 catches, 444 receiving yards, 4 TDs), senior receiver Darren Taborn (18, 273, 3) and sophomore receiver Quamir “Philly” Brown (17, 148, 1).
“We’ve got a lot back on the offensive line and a good amount of skill kids coming back,” Doenges said. “We’ve still got some pieces.”
The biggest loss at an offensive skill position will be running back/receiver Caleb Harris, who ran for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns. Doenges said there are several candidates right now who could see time at running back.
“We’re looking at a pool of four guys who could potentially get carries for us,” Doenges said. “As the summer progresses, maybe one of those guys will elevate themselves in front of everyone else.”
Due to school not starting until after Labor Day, Sidney is spreading out its 10 camp days over the summer so players won’t have long stretches without being on the field.
The squad will take next week off to celebrate Independence Day and will resume weight training the week of July 7. Their next camp day will be July 10 and two 7-on-7s and other camp days will follow later in the month.
Preseason practice starts for all football teams across Ohio on Aug. 1 — thought it will effectively begin on July 29 for Sidney, which will use the last three of its 10 camp days leading up to the start of practice.
Sidney will open the season on Aug. 30 against St. Marys at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.