Athens Bulldogs 2015 Preview

Athens Hopes To Remain Atop TVC-Ohio Despite Lack Of Experience

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It is no longer a surprise to hear that the Athens Bulldogs are celebrating a TVC-Ohio championship at the end of the season. Head coach Ryan Adams seems to be creating a step-by-step guide for success with the number of wins the program has posted over the last several seasons.

Following a 14-win season and a trip to the Division III state championship game, the big question for Adams in 2015 lies in how he is able to keep his players hungry to take on another season.

“We do not talk about TVC-Ohio championships,” Adams said. “We do not think about what happened yesterday, we just try to work every day to make ourselves better.”

It did not take long for the green and gold to start preparing for this upcoming season. Just 30 days after its only loss to Toledo Central Catholic, Athens began a weight-training program that ran four days per week and lasted through the entire offseason.

After graduating so many top-notch athletes, there will be plenty of new faces stepping into the spotlight on Friday nights. Despite the lack of experience for many of his players, Adams insists that the team will approach week one of the regular season the exact same way.

“We are going to continue to do what we always do,” Adams said. “We have been working hard in the offseason to develop some players. Until you get your feet out there on a Friday night, you do not quite know what you have.”

Perhaps the most notable spot to fill this season will be at the quarterback position, a spot that Joe Burrow dominated during his four years in The Plains. This season, Adams is looking to junior Brendan Sano to lead the offense in the huddle.

“He has really matured a lot over the past year,” Adams said. “He is the guy that wants to step up to the challenge and take that spot.”

Alongside Sano, the Bulldogs will have four new starters on the offensive line this season. For an offense that put up 57 points per game in 2014, it is crucial for inexperienced players to gel early on in this year’s campaign.

Because of its high-powered offense a season ago, many forget the dominant force that was Athens’s defense. Surrendering only 18 points per contest in 2014, this year’s bunch has a lot of production to make up for. Adams expressed his confidence in some of his veteran players, like Heath Wiseman, who will be a big impact player to lead this group.

“We have a lot of bodies,” Adams said. “We just are not sure yet who will get the nod for week one.”

Closing in on another season, Adams has one message at the top of his clipboard. Close games were not something the Bulldogs dealt with on a weekly basis last season, where on average, they were cruising to a 39-point margin of victory. With so many new faces, he persists that his team be able to fight through adversity throughout their schedule. He added that many of his players have been around big-time playoff atmospheres, helping them accomplish that goal.

The TVC-Ohio race appears to be more of a toss-up this time around, and many feel that Athens will not be the team most are accustomed to seeing on Friday nights. Adams provided a strong response to those who share that belief.

“They can keep on thinking that,” Adams said. “We have to prove something to ourselves, and our staff is looking forward to getting the job done with a group of less-experienced guys.”

The Bulldogs will open the season in The Plains with an old rival as the Logan Chieftains travel down Route 33 on Aug. 28.