SPRINGFIELD — After the Greenon Knights went winless in last season’s campaign, head coach Kevin Ferguson went back to the drawing board. When he returned, he had new schemes for both sides of the ball, changes that he’s looking will steer the Knights’ fortunes back in the right direction.
The Knights have installed the two new looks in the offseason and will be hoping their two senior linemen and a new quarterback will be able to create a foundation for success.
The Knights abandoned their triple option attack for the Wing-T this season. It’s a system built on misdirection and deception.
“There won’t be a play that we run that you probably won’t see a guy going in motion,” Ferguson said. “… Our goal is to completely confuse the defense. We want them to be thinking, ‘Hey, who the heck has the ball?’
“For us it’s not very complicated. It’s a very simplified playbook for our guys, but we make it look very, very complicated when we get out there, which is kind of the whole idea.”
Returning starters Nick Aldrich and Tyler Johnson will anchor the offensive (and defensive) line and will look to protect first-year quarterback Frank Gmuca. The junior is a converted running back. Despite only making the switch in June, Ferguson is pleased with where Gmuca is in his transition.
“He is light years ahead of where we thought he’d be right now,” he said. “He’s really done a great job learning the offense and making it his own. He’s a very quiet kid, a very calm kid. He really has a real nice presence in the huddle.”
On defense, the Knights will move to a 3-3 stack, which Ferguson said will take advantage of the team’s speed, which it trades for size.
With the possibility of starting two freshmen at linebacker, Greenon will rely on junior Juan Cervantes to guide that unit.
“Defensively, we gonna kinda live and die with [Cervantes],” Ferguson said. “He’s really kind of stepped up, and he’s really our quarterback on defense and done a nice job.”
While special teams duties haven’t been completely nailed down, Cervantes will likely take punting duties, women’s soccer standout Chloe Fout will likely take kicking responsibilities and Derek Brown will be the team’s kick returner.
Depth could pose a problem for Greenon, which currently sports a 26-person roster, forcing several players to put in time both on offense and defense. But after installing new looks on both sides of the ball, the Knights will look to take steps forward this season.
Reach Nathan Pilling at 937-502-4498 or on Twitter @XDGNatePilling.