With the departure of coach Brian Spicer following the 2007-2008 school
year, the Marietta football program may have gotten what it needed
most; a Marietta boy with attitude and willpower to turnaround the
Tiger football program.
Andy Schob takes over as head coach after 11 seasons with the program
and takes over a team with veterans at nearly all the skill positions.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Cody Westbrook (6-3, 160, SR), RB/DB Perry Wheeler (6-0, 185, JR), WR/DB Sean Munfield (6-0, 165, SR), WR/LB Zane Eschbaugh (6-1, 197, SR), WR/DB Billy Grizer (5-11, 160, JR), OT/DT Stratton Johnson (6-0, 225, SR), OG/LB Ryan Offenberger (5-11, 205, JR), OT/DT Nick Place (5-10, 240, SR), OL/FB/DT Connor Hess (6-2, 247, Soph), FB/LB Lance Weppler (6-3, 220, JR), LB Jared Ross (5-10, 185, SR), LB Tyler Barnhart (6-0, 160, SR)
2007 Record: 3-7
With the departure of coach Brian Spicer following the 2007-2008 school year, the Marietta football program may have gotten what it needed most; a Marietta boy with attitude and willpower to turnaround the Tiger football program.
Andy Schob takes over as head coach after 11 seasons with the program and takes over a team with veterans at nearly all the skill positions.
“We’ll be making some changes, both offensively and defensively,” said Schob. “But especially defensively.”
That’s a good start, considering that in the Tigers seven Southeastern Ohio Athletic League games they allowed 40 or more points five times including 76 against Logan and 70 against Chillicothe on their way to a 3-7 season in 2007.
Schob inherits a talented corps. of offensive players, starting with senior quarterback Cody Westbrook (6-3, 160), an All-SEOAL selection in 2007. Last fall, Westbrook passed for 2,197 yards on 144-294 passing with 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
But this fall, the orange and black looks to shift their offense away from a no-huddle single-back look to a more conservative brand of football. They’re still going to throw the football, but just work on adding balance to their attack.
“We want to attack the line of scrimmage,” Schob said. “We’re going to get away from the no-huddle and a lot of the zone blocking schemes we used the last couple of years, let’s run the ball at people off tackle and use sweeps and counters to utilize our speed in the backfield.”
Leading the charge in the backfield will be junior running back Perry Wheeler (6-0, 185). Wheeler averaged over 6.8 yards per carry in limited duty last fall while scoring two touchdowns.
“We expect Perry to carry the load for us this year,” Schob added. “But we’re going to give him a better chance to do that this year. We’re going to give him some lead blockers to follow, something that hasn’t been done here for a few years.”
And the Tiger have a couple of talented lead blockers in junior Lance Weppler (6-3, 220) and sophomore Connor Hess (6-2, 247).
The Tigers should still be one of the league’s top passing threats, despite the new emphasis on attacking the line of scrimmage. Senior Sean Munfield (6-0, 165) will be a three year starter who caught 5 touchdown passes and 36 total passes for 488 yards. Classmate Zane Eschbaugh (6-1, 197) returns after catching 20 passes for 351 yards and 3 scores in 2007. Junior Billy Grizer (5-11, 160) is another receiver Schob looks for to step up this fall, along with sophomore Morgan Wynn (5-10, 162) and senior Jacob George (6-0, 160).
Up front, the Tigers will be rebuilding after losing 3 starters, but junior Ryan Offenberger (5-11, 205) returns at guard and seniors Stratton Johnson (6-0, 225) and Nick Place (5-10, 254) return at tackle. Hess may also see time up front for the orange and black.
Defensively, the Tigers will move from a 3-man front on defense where they relied on attacking linebackers to a 44 defense.
“We’re going to a move to a 4-4 defense and focus on plugging holes and stopping the run,” Schob said. “If you’ve seen us play, you know that doing that has been a major weakness, and something we must do better.”
Among the front four will likely be Hess, Place and Johnson while Weppler, Senior Jared Ross (5-10, 185), and Offenberger will see time in the linebacking corps. Senior Tyler Barnhart (6-0, 160) will also be returning to the Tiger line-up after missing the 2007 senior.
Senior Eric McCauley (5-11, 235) and sophomore Cole Happ (5-10, 225) add depth up front, while Eschbaugh and senior Justin Green (5-10, 150) add depth at linebacker.
In the defensive backfield, Wheeler, and Munfield are returning starters with Wynn, George, and Grizer adding depth.
The Tigers don’t play a home game until Sept. 5 against New Philadelphia after starting on the road against Hilliard Darby and Cambridge. Marietta misses Ironton and Chillicothe, two of the SEOAL’s top contenders and also hosts Jackson, and Logan.
It will be difficult to turn-around the ship in one season, but the schedule sets up nicely for the Tigers to make a run at getting back to above .500 for the first time since 2002.
Aug. 22 – @ Hilliard Darby
Aug. 29 – @ Cambridge
Sept. 5 – New Philadelphia
Sept. 12 – Warren *
Sept. 19 – Parkersburg South
Sept. 26 – Jackson *
Oct. 3 – Logan *
Oct. 10 – @ Zanesville *
Oct. 17 – @ Portsmouth *
Oct. 24 – @ Gallia Academy *
* = SEOAL Game