Football 2012: Victoria has a new look
Published on -8/30/2012, 10:49 AM
By NICK McQUEEN
VICTORIA -- Victoria High School football coach Doug Oberle doesn't find himself talking about all the streaks the Knights' program has going right now.
He doesn't have to. Oberle simply speaks to his group every year about tradition -- and the rest takes care of itself.
Even with one of his most inexperienced teams in his seven years at the helm, the Knights know all about the Victoria mantra "Believe."
"We talk a lot about tradition. We talk about 'Guys in front you that have gone through the same thing you're going through.' "
With the exception of its two running backs and a lineman, Victoria will have several new guys at new positions.
The biggest switch comes at quarterback -- with newly named starter Sam Ottley, a junior, taking control.
Ottley becomes the fifth different starting quarterback for the Knights in as many years.
"It's been really good," Ottley said during the Knights' first full week of practice. "I've played quarterback in middle school and have got some reps here this summer. Get those repetitions in and I'll be alright."
Ottley saw time as an end as a sophomore, but makes the switch to QB to be in a more prominent role as his older brothers, Jordan (QB), and Brett (RB) were in the past.
"Ever since Jordan and Brett started playing, they've played in the playoff games," Sam said. "I've always been excited by Knight football.
"It's always something you look forward to. It's just fun to be a part of it, and do as well as they did."
Ottley, one of only four starters returning for the Knights, will be the signal caller in a backfield that returns junior Clayton Roth and senior Dalton Dreiling. In front of Ottley, junior Nathan Kuhn returns on the line after starting half of last season before suffering an injury.
"We have a lot of young guys, we have a lot of inexperienced guys," Oberle said. "But, at the same time, we have some guys who have been out there and played."
Dreiling was a catalyst for a Knights team that started last season 0-2, before rallying to finish 6-5 and earn its 10th straight playoff berth. Victoria has not produced a losing season since switching to eight-man.
"We're really just feeling our way around, trying to get better each day," Oberle said in Week 1 of practice.
Dreiling returns after rushing for 1,185 yards. Roth also saw some time out of the backfield, collecting 527 yards on 51 carries, a 10.3 yard-per-carry average.
"All those guys have to step up and assume a role on this team, and do their job," Oberle said. "Dalton will be asked a lot of on both sides of the ball."
Oberle said one of the issues his squad will face is the size on the line -- a line he called the smallest Victoria has had in his tenure.
"We lost a lot on the line," Ottley said.
"But, I've been playing with these guys since middle school, so I know we'll do fine.
"We have had a lot of reps over the summer, spent quite a bit of time running the option."
"At the end of the day, you put your hand in the ground, get off the ball and block somebody," Oberle said. "There's no two ways about it. You have to get off the ball and block people. This group is getting better every day."
The Knights also will use a spread option formation often. It was a look Oberle went to in several games toward the end of last season.
It helped them get to the playoffs and knock off Cheylin in the first round on the road.
"...just trying to build off that," Oberle said. "We're still a double-tight option team. We'll base everything there, and try and work everything out from that."
The Knights' schedule will put them to another tough test this season. In the first four weeks, Victoria will go up against four perennial contenders, including three that defeated them last season.