As is the case with many high school football coaches heading into the season, Victoria coach Doug Oberle is hesitant to say what exactly his team is made of.
In Oberle’s case, it’s more due to the fact that he doesn’t really know. Or at least, claims he doesn’t.
He’ll wait until after Friday’s Week 1 contest against Central Prairie League foe and perennial playoff contender Otis-Bison to see if he has some of those answers.
Even still, the Knights’ 13th-year head coach isn’t sure they will have more answers than questions — particularly defensively — until the Knights get further into the season.
What he does know is the Knights could be pretty good on offense, coming off a 7-3 campaign in 2017 where they lost in the first round to Burlingame, an eventual sub-state runner-up.
“We have talent returning on the offensive side, that’s for sure,” Oberle said. “We’ve got a lot of depth, with the exception of quarterback.
“We’ve got four guys we feel we can put in the backfield, and our tight ends all bring a little something different,” the coach added, eluding to a potential four-headed attack of Walker Braun and Tyler Knoles, along with Layton Riedel and Jayvon Pruitt.
Plus, Oberle said, the offensive line is looking solid with perhaps two or three more pushing for more playing time to keep the line working hard.
The one thing that might be a struggle on offense is his club might have to grind it out more. The Knights might not have the “home run hitter” they’ve had in recent seasons by the likes of speedy Collin Kisner or the bruising Cooper Pfanenstiel.
“Overall speed, we probably won’t have, so we’ll just have to stay in front of the sticks a little bit.”
But the Knights do boast an experienced quarterback in returning starter and senior Cooper Windholz. He’s one of four returning full-time starters on the offensive side, along with tight end Caden Oberle and offensive linemen Jake Wellbrock and Jacob Schroeder.
The question remains, though, who is going to step up on defense, Oberle said. While the Knights only allowed 16 points per contest in 2017, they allowed 22, 36 and 34 in their three losses, the latter of which resulted in the end of the season.
“I thought we weren’t that good there last year, but we were probably better than I gave us credit for,” Coach Oberle said. “We still need to get better. It’s been a point of emphasis for us this year.”