Updated Tue, Aug 20, 2013 1:42 pm
Editor’s Note: Three-Point Stance is Gridiron Glory’s written preview series leading up to its 15th season on WOUB. Gridiron is visiting training camps for all 32 teams in the coverage area as they prepare for the 2013 football season. The series continues in the TVC-Ohio, where five teams look to knock Athens from the top of the standings.
After finishing 7-3 two years ago, the Alexander Spartans football team experienced a downfall in 2012 and closed their season with an unsatisfactory 4-6 record. Despite dropping six games, the Spartans managed to be within two scores in four of those contests and capped their season at third in the TVC-Ohio with a 2-3-conference mark. The Spartans have put last season behind them and plan to use their new football family to be competitors in the TVC-Ohio.
Here are three things to know about the 2013 Alexander Spartans:
1. Ground & Pound
Last year, the Spartans offense averaged 19.3 points per game, but failed to find an efficient balance while they had the ball. As a team Alexander scored just four touchdowns through the air and relied heavily on all-purpose back Gage Miller, who accounted for 16 of the Spartans’ 22 offensive touchdowns.
This year, head coach Sean Arno plans to regenerate his old tendencies and apply them to the Spartans 2013 offense.
“We’re going to run a nice split of passing and running plays, but we’ll probably be run-heavy,” Arno said. “I think we can run the ball; we’re strong up front and we’ve worked really hard at it in the offseason.”
Arno has high expectations for his Spartans this season, however he plans to focus on winning one game at a time. “You can’t take anything for granted,” he said.
2. Defensive Identity
The Spartans’ defense definitely struggled against difficult opponents last year. They allowed 77 points at home to Athens and gave up 55 to Nelsonville-York the following game. Aside from those two contents, the Spartans allowed an acceptable 18.6 points per game, however the offense inefficiencies failed to benefit the defense.
The 2013 Spartans look to continue some familiar sets, enforcing a 3-4 defense while mixing up coverages to give opposing offenses a different look.
“I would like to think our defensive team speed will be our strength as long as everyone stays in one piece,” Arno said. “You have to have good health, good fortune, and you have to have good momentum.”
The Spartans’ defense will need to rise to the occasion this season, especially when they face offensive powerhouses like Athens.
Coach Arno focused on team unity during the offseason and strongly emphasized the importance of a team, rather than personal success. He feels that if a specific player is in the spotlight, they are doing so as a result of the team; football is a team sport.
“We did a lot of team-building in the offseason and we’ve spent a lot of time unifying these guys,” he said. “That, hopefully, will be something that pays dividends. That’s something we really hope to see from this team; that they are a unified front and that they will be ‘one’.”
Arno describes his 2013 Spartans in one word:
“Fighters. They are going to fight all the way through, no matter what.”
Alexander faces Federal Hocking Aug. 29 in their season opener. The Spartans defeated the Lancers in last season’s opener in a close one, 22-21.
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