Updated Mon, Aug 12, 2013 10:44 am
Editor’s Note: Three-Point Stance is Gridiron Glory’s written preview series leading up to its 15th season on WOUB. Gridiron is visiting training camps for all 32 teams in the coverage area as they prepare for the 2013 football season. The series continues in the MVL, where competition is always high from top to bottom.
After a 3-7 campaign in 2011, Coach John Kelley’s John Glenn Muskies achieved a winning record last season, going 6-4. That winning record placed John Glenn at fifth in the MVL, but the maroon and white are looking to jump into the upper echelon of their conference standings with an experienced team in 2013.
John Glenn returns seven starters on each side of the ball. That experience could be enough to push the Muskies over the hump and into contention.
Here are three things to know about the 2013 John Glenn Little Muskies:
1. Working on the Fundamentals
John Glenn’s offense finished with average of 23.4 PPG last season, leaving them once again in fifth place in the MVL for offensive production. The Muskies’ run-first offense, which struggled with episodes of inconsistency in 2012, has spent the offseason working on the fundamentals to improve.
“It’s a process,” Kelley said. “We do a lot of reps every day with our guys focusing on ball handling. We’re a run-first football team and that’s what we emphasize.”
Kelley also acknowledged that the experience of last year’s success would help this year’s offense, but consistency is one of the top focuses. The 2012 team lit up the scoreboard against West Muskingum with 61 points, but stalled completely the following week, laying a goose egg against the Philo Electrics.
Running back Blake Atkins, a Gridiron Glory Player of the Year candidate, returns for the Muskies after suffering from an injury that ended his 2012 season early. Atkins’ speed in the open field will be needed to charge past the quick defenses of the MVL.
2. Speed Kills
The Muskie defense was the backbone and most consistent unit of their squad in 2012, surrendering only 16.5 PPG. John Glenn’s defense held the top four teams in the MVL 14.2 PPG under their season scoring averages, proving that the Muskies have one of the best defenses in the conference.
But while their defense slowed the conference’s best teams down, it couldn’t stop them completely. The Muskies only won one of those contests with the MVL Top-4, revealing that there is room for improvement.
The Muskies return seven starters to a 4-4 defense that relies on speed to be tough against the run.
“I think the key is playing fast defensively and running to the football,” Kelley said. “We’ve got some good, fast kids that can do that.”
3. Better, Faster, Stronger
Coach Kelley consistently mentioned that one of his team’s biggest strengths was its commitment to the weight room throughout the offseason, and that he thought his players’ work ethic would pay off in the fall.
“This could be as strong of a team as we’ve ever had,” Kelley said. “We’ve got a team that is really committed to the weight room and I think that has been a big positive.”
When you add improved strength to a team already known for its speed, you have a squad that won’t back down without a fight under the lights on Friday night.
John Glenn opens its season at Barnesville on Friday, Aug. 30.
Follow @gridironglory on Twitter and Instagram and Like the Gridiron Glory Facebook page for continued coverage throughout the preseason. Gridiron Glory returns Friday, Aug. 23 at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB.