By Scott Halasz
BEAVERCREEK — The Beavers were a handful of points and a couple plays away from a 7-3 record and a playoff berth last season.
That potential and a new attitude being instilled by new coach Nic Black has resulted in more attention from within the hallowed halls of Beavercreek.
“One of the things that’s been good, we’ve got strong numbers,” Black said. “We’ve had to order more shoulder pads, more helmets. That’s good.” He estimated about 130 players in 9-12 when practices began.
The early returns indicate that all involved are enjoying how and where things are going as of now.
“They definitely know there’s a change,” Black said.
The Beavers are going to continue to pound the ball and rely on the offensive line to create swaths of running room.
But it won’t look the same.
“You’re going to see some formations that you haven’t in the years past,” he said.
Black said the Beavers will run a more diverse option attack with 3-step drops and play-action on passing plays with the hopes of stretching the defense vertically.
Turben will take the reigns on offense. The Beavers will have new running backs as Allen Lawrence and Airius Moore have graduated.
Beavercreek will employ an aggressive 4-4 defense, which is a major change from the past. But Black has a proven track record, having built Springboro’s defense into one of the tops in the area as defensive coordinator the past few years.
“It’s what I’ve always run,” he said. “I believe you coach what you know.”
The Beavers gave up 16.6 points a game last year but did have two shutouts and will look to build on the moderate success they had. Beavercreek held Wayne to 14 points — including a late score — and Centerville — which averaged more than 40 points — to 31 with only 10 coming after halftime.
They did graduate a good chunk of their defenders.
Junior Michael Chuck, a stalwart on the Beavercreek soccer team, is a field goal threat for the offense, Black said.
Aug. 29 Xenia. It’s big for the staff and players in setting the tone for the season.
Sept. 19 at Springboro. It’s important for Black to show his former team the Beavers can operate at a high level.
Oct. 31 at Fairmont. Black said this is a team the players consider to be a big rival, which is why it’s the last game.
There will be a lot of new faces on both sides of the ball, including a new backfield, Black said. The goals remain the same for Black: win the non-conference games and win the GWOC Central and then let the playoff situation sort itself out after that.
Black is trying to get his team confident to play “really fast” on both sides of the ball without trying to do too much.
“Trust the guy next to you to do their job,” he said. “You do your job. We can’t play good coverage and not have the defensive ends keep the quarterback in the pocket.”