Three-Point Stance: Vinton County Rebuilds

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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 TVC-Ohio, where five teams look to knock Athens from the top of the standings.

The 2012 football season proved to be an uphill battle for Vinton County. The Vikings failed to notch a victory in the TVC-Ohio (0-5) and closed out 2012 with an inadequate 1-9 record. Offensively, the Vikings were held scoreless two times and averaged merely 12.4 points per game. Despite last years inefficiencies, head coach Justy Burleson expressed great energy and optimism for the upcoming season.

Here are three things to know about the 2013 Vinton County Vikings:

1. Blue-Collar Offense

The Vikings are ready to put last year’s offensive struggles behind them and concentrate on developing a structured offense behind quarterback Andy Long and fullback Tim Ousley. Coach Burleson believes that Long and Ousley are the strengths of their offense and that they have the necessary experience to direct the offense.

Long accounted for nine touchdowns last season, yet only four of those were through the air. Ously was the man on the ground last year, however he failed to reach 500 yards on the ground and matched Long with five rushing touchdowns.

This year, Burleson refers to the Vikings as a power option team and he plans to be aggressive and implement a competitive nature in his players.

“We blend elements of the option game with elements of the power game out of the “I” and with split backs too,” he said. “We’re a blue-collar team and we want to do things the right way and we’ll be fine.”

Burleson also said that he has a lot of guys coming in that are capable of stepping up and making plays at the varsity level. He is searching for several role players at the wide receiver position that can step up in the rotation and offer their strengths to the offense. The Vikings will face a test this year in the TVC-Ohio and Burleson thinks that his men will step up to the challenge.

2. Athleticism on Defense

When the offense fails to reach the end zone, the defense tends to be on the field more often and tire easily. Last year, Vinton County allowed 36.2 points per game and gave up an average of 55 points in their last three contests. This year, coach Burleson believes that there are two key areas that will turn around last year’s woes.

“Our linebackers are bigger and our secondary is more athletic than it’s ever been since I stared coaching here four years ago,” Burleson said. “If we can get those guys to master the footwork and get them to rely on good technique and reads they’ll be just fine. Defensively we feel very good about where we’re at.”

Despite having a slim roster — 45 players — Burleson said that the Vikings are going to be more aggressive this year while staying smart at the same time to limit injuries. If they can do that, Burleson feels that their win numbers can improve.

3. Team Unity

The key to a successful season lies within a teams chemistry. Coach Burleson believes that his team has developed a strong bond this year and they have shown more leadership as a whole than in previous years.

“These guys are bonding well and that’s the key in everything you do,” Burleson said. “You want guys to form good chemistry and we feel good about that this year.”

Vinton County’s athleticism and team chemistry will be put to the test when they kickoff the 2013 regular season with a home opener against Unioto Aug. 30. The Vikings lost to Unioto in their season opener last year, 38-15.

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.