Youthful inexperience is usually a temporary roadblock.
Wellington head football coach Sean Arno is entering his third season with the Dukes after posting 2-8 and 3-7 records in 2014 and 2015 respectively. He feels his young starters, which included a large number of sophomores in 2015, are ready to take the next step this season.
“You can hide inexperience on offense a bit but not on defense,” said Arno. “We’ll be running my defense that I’ve been running for about 15 years. It’s a 4-4 base that will sometimes switch to a 4-3 against spread offenses.”
Last year the Dukes ran a 4-2-5 and Arno didn’t call the plays. This year, he’s adamant that he will be making those calls and said he’ll take full responsibility for the defense: “We will be aggressive.”
The Dukes scored a respectable 22 points per game last year but gave up 43.
“If a team is hurting us then we’ll try and finds solutions,” said Arno. “Sometimes that could be through the blitz. It doesn’t always have to be. The other day we were watching film from a prior team that I coached. The guys asked if we were blitzing and I said no. The linebackers were just making reads and playing downhill. It looks like they’re blitzing because they’re making those reads so quickly.”
On the offensive side, Arno plans to retain the spread scheme that his team used in 2015.
Quarterback/wide receiver Max Carevic will lead the charge after receiving All-Northeast Lakes District and All-Ohio honors last year. His torrid two-week stretch to end the season saw the 6-foot-2-inch senior put up a combined 867 yards from scrimmage against Brookside and Black River.
“We want our success on offense to carry over into this season,” said Arno. “We put up 26 points against a good Chippewa team and not many other teams did that. We only had two seniors on offense last year, so we’re welcoming back nearly everyone. These kids are growing up. There’s a kid who was benching 215 last year who is now putting up 300 pounds. He is moving better and understands what he’s doing.”
The added distraction of the demolition of the Dickson Street football field bleachers has not gone unnoticed at Dukes practices.
“It’s kind of a good thing because it prepares us for stuff going wrong,” said Arno. “We can’t freak out about it and the kids have to learn that. It’s nice that we’re finally getting something done. It’s been a long time coming. The kids are handling it pretty well.”
Other returning Dukes lettermen include Dauson Hammer, Drew Mason, Alex Goss, Brandon Sorg, Justin Skinner, Tristan Arno, Trevor Porter, Nate Nocella, and Mason Wright.
Arno also said he expects versatile linemen Nick Fox and and Nate Shelton to play large roles while sophomores Cameron Smith and Nick Arno begin to work their way into the lineup.
Wellington kicks things off the season at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25 at Chippewa.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise The Dukes will kick off the season against Chippewa. After going 2-8 and 3-7 the past two seasons, coach Sean Arno thinks his team is ready to take the next step.