With so much coaching turnover seemingly every year in the high school football ranks — this year, Garces, West, Mira Monte, Bakersfield Christian, Taft, Kennedy, McFarland, Frazier Mountain and Rosamond all have new coaches, representing nearly 25 percent of all schools in the county — we do a lot of talk about the transition from one coach to another.
For some schools, it's pretty simple. Jim Maples was the defensive coordinator at Garces and Jerald Pierucci the offensive coordinator at BCHS last year, and the coaching staffs return nearly intact, so there won't be a big problem.
Others will be more difficult. And it's possible no program is undergoing a more radical change than West High.
Countdown to Week 0: 16 days
Coach: Mark Camps (first year)
2011 record: 1-8 (one forfeit win) (0-4 South Yosemite League, 0-5 home)
Average points: 7.3
Average points allowed: 27.6
*Average rush yards: N/A
Average rush yards allowed: 222.2
*Average pass yards: N/A
Average pass yards allowed: 98.6
Best win: N/A (no on-field wins)
Worst loss: Mira Monte 13, West 7
*—yardage figures are from MaxPreps and are only used if at least half of games are available. Take them with a grain of salt. Figure could be skewed depending on which games, if any, are missing
Key players: Patrick Marzette, sr, RB; Javaundre Howington, sr, WR/DB; Stanley Dubard, jr, RB/LB; Roman Chavez, sr, OL/DL
Key losses: Corey Frison, RB/LB; Diyon West, OL/LB; Sunni Crawford, TE/LB; McKinnley Williams, OL/DL; JaJuan English, QB/DB
Offense: In his final year as West's coach, Chad Grider did implement some aspects of an option offense, so maybe this transition isn't quite as radical as I'm making it out to be. But Mark Camps is a wing-T disciple, and for a group that hasn't done much like that in the past, it could be rough in the early going. Of course, we're talking about a team that went winless on the field last year (the Vikings' only win came when Stockdale had to forfeit a blowout victory) and scored barely 7 points a game, so any change could be good change. If they pick up the scheme, the Vikings have plenty of guys who can make defenses pay for misreads: Stanly Dubard and Patrick Marzette will see plenty of carries, and Javaundre Howington could be a big-play receiver off of play action.
Defense: Those same returning speed demons should ensure the secondary is in good shape, but there are question marks about the front seven, particularly along the defensive line. Camps prefers a 40 front, and he's looking for a couple of up-and-comers to emerge alongside Roman Chavez and Jeffrey Kindle.
Outlook: Camps won a share of the SWYL title at North in 2009 running a wing-T with Julian Dean-Johnson providing the spark in the backfield and winding up with nealry 2,000 yards. Marzette and Dubard have the talent to become that guy in this offense; in fact, year in and year out, Camps should have more talent to work with at West, his alma mater, than he did at North. But that North team had a number of backs and linemen with wing-T experience and comfort level. It's going to take time to build that with the Vikings, who were a wreck on both sides of the ball last year. If the losses start to pile up early again — and the non-league schedule is a monster — it could be hard to get this thing turned around in league play. West will be more competitive than last year, but I get the sense Camps and his staff are a year or two away from really rolling out the kind of team they want to field.
Quotable: "The kids are excited. The key is going to be to fuel that excitement by having success. The sooner we can do that, the better. If we get too far down the road without that, it's going to be a tough battle." — Camps
Schedule: Aug. 24 East
Aug. 31 Porterville
Sept. 7 at North
Sept. 14 BYE
Sept. 21 at Frontier
Sept. 28 at Tehachapi
Oct. 5 South*
Oct. 12 at Golden Valley*
Oct. 19 Ridgeview*
Oct. 26 at Mira Monte*
Nov. 2 at Santa Maria-St. Joseph
Prediction: 1-9, 1-3 SYL
HS FOOTBALL PREVIEW INDEX
July 30: 8-man schools
July 31: Boron, Burroughs
Aug. 1: Rosamond, Kern Valley
Aug. 2: McFarland, Delano
Aug. 3: Kennedy, Chavez
Aug. 4: Taft
Aug. 4: Wasco
Aug. 5: Arvin
Aug. 6: Shafter
Aug. 6: Bakersfield Christian
Aug. 7: Golden Valley
Aug. 7: Mira Monte
Up next: South