The transition period between a new coach and players has been quite smooth for Kevin Creasy and the Oakland High School football team.
Creasy replaced Thomas McDaniel (now at Christian Brothers) last spring, and obviously brought a different philosophy with him from Trousdale County where he won one state title.
On thing that isn't different, however, is the major expectations that come with Oakland football.
"It's one of those thing you hope goes well when you have to go through the transition of coaching new kids and getting them to know you," Creasy said. "It's not easy for players because they're probably getting coached a different way and the expectations are different. The transition period is over and the honeymoon is over. Everybody knows what to expect."
Part of Creasy's different philosophy is that he runs the Wing-T offense. He warns, however, that the offense has multiple looks.
"The one thing is we don't want to do is pigeon hole ourself into a corner by calling us a Wing-T team specifically," he said. "What we try to do as best as we can is to get the ball to our playmakers so they can make plays. It's more about the players than they plays, and that's always been our philosophy."
The Patriots lost nine starters from last year's state semifinalist team. Juniors Cody Miller and Brendan Matthews are currently battling for the starting quarterback position.
Most all of the skill players are gone from last season, but the backfield of senior Cammeron Massengill, junior Lazarius Patterson and junior Chris Onwumere is expected to put up big numbers. Additionally, junior wide receiver JaCoby Stevens is a big-time playmaker.
"The strength of our offense is we have several weapons that we can call upon and several kids who want the ball when it's a critical situation," Creasy said. "It's going to be hard for a team to zero in on one threat."
A lack of experience on offense is an obvious concern, however.
"The thing we've got to worry about is experience. We have two returning starters," Creasy said. "We have nine guys that may not have played real varsity football, and if they did it wasn't significant moments.
"We've got a really big game to start the season (against Hoover, Alabama), and it's going to be a big test. It's going to be their first game, and it just so happens it's against one of the top teams in the nationa. We'll be tested with composure, intestinal fortitude and all of those things early."
Defensively, Oakland will employ a 3-4 scheme. The Patriots also will have nine new starters on that side of the ball.
"I've got a guy that came with me, Steven Jackson, who is my defensive coordinator, and we've coached together a few years," Creasy said. "I'm a believer in everything we do schematically. On defense, we've got some very good players, but again, it's nine new guys. It may take a couple of games before they play like we'd like them to."
Two returning starters, senior defensive lineman Ty Nix and Stevens (rover), are certainly potential All-state performers.
In addition to playing Hoover, Oakland will also play Hillsboro and Haywood in non-conference play.
"The best teacher you can have is experience, and they'll get it right off the bat," Creasy said. "That opening game is going to be huge. There will be a huge crowd, it's on the turf field (at MTSU) where they all dream of playing, and it's against one of the toughest opponents we could find anywhere. We'll find out in a hurry the areas we're good at and the areas we need to improve at."
QB: Brendan Matthews, Jr.; Cody Miller, Jr.
RB: Cammeron Massengill, Sr.; Lazarius Patterson, Jr.
FB: Chris Onwumere, Jr.
WR: JaCoby Stevens, Jr.
TE: Pruitt Jones, Sr.
OL: Jacob Lowery, Sr.; Jacob Frazier, Sr.; Benji Arnette, Sr., Michael Pendergrast, Sr.; Elijah Dobbins, Jr.
DL: Turrel Ward, Sr.; Chris Onwumere, Jr.; Ty Nix, Sr.; Dre Litaker, So.
LB: Cameron Newman, Sr.; Jake Cauthen, Jr.; Dexter Hurd, Sr.
DB: Mark Pruitt, Sr.; Quintavious Boyd, Sr.
S: Kaleb Oliver, Jr.
ROVER: Jacoby Stevens, Jr.
K: Aaron Sears, So.
P: Blake Alberts, Sr.
Sports editor Monte Hale Jr. may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org