Posted 06/30/2010 on www.MyIndianaFootball.com
Building the Forest Park Rangers back from scratch won’t be anything new for veteran Head Coach Terry Wagner.
After 26 years in the business, he has just about seen it all. Besides, just three years the Rangers fielded their first varsity football team in history. After the historic 4-6 2008 season, the Rangers repeated the act last year.
So Wagner decided it was time to change the offensive scheme and he chose to install the option currently run at Georgia Tech. Wagner thinks that his team’s overall quickness and the experience of quarterback Grant Welp should help make the scheme work. It is an obvious risk and Wagner knows it. “In order for us to be successful, the team must be able to adapt to the new offensive scheme and be successful with it early in the season,” he said.
Unfortunately, the Rangers lost nine seniors, including All-State running back, Craig Voges, running back Justin Wendholt, cornerback Tyler Allen, defensive back Ross Beckman, defensive back Ethan Smith, lineman Bryce Klem, lineman Lance Rahman, lineman Austin Aders, and receiver Trent Theising.
But Wagner has held over his “No Excuses” team slogan for another year so… ummm…there will be no excuses. Instead, Wagner will try to work his newly installed option offense from a base that includes Welp, a talented player who will attempt to add to his list of school records. He tossed 13 TDs last year and amassed 1,069 yards through the air, almost 300 more than his sophomore year.
Wagner will have his favorite receiver also returning. Kyle Schwinghamer holds a bunch of Ranger records, including 10 TD receptions in 2009 (14 for his career), 25 receptions for 521 total yards receiving (40-804 career) and two blocked kicks. Ben Braunecker and Lance Buechler will provide alternate targets.
Dakota Geyer looks poised to replace Voges as the team leading rusher but he will be challenged by Travis Schnell, Miles Leonard and Rhashaun Hurt.
The offensive line features two seniors with two years starting experience each in center Lee Uebelhor and tackle Caleb Williams. Wagner will have to see how senior Zach Whitecotten, juniors Casey Abell and Caleb Myers, and sophomores Nathan Libbert, Dylan Popplewell, and T.J. Bieker fill in the slots laid open by graduation.
Forest Park will play a “4-4” defense and senior defensive end Caleb Myers could cause mayhem for opposing offenses. He will be joined by junior Nathan Kloeck. The defensive interior will be stocked with inexperienced players. Junior Anthony Fischer, Popplewell, and Libbert have their name on the pre-season depth chart.
The linebacking crew will feature Miles Leonard, Hurt, and Abell while Schwinghamer, Braunecker, Welp, and Buechler will provide backfield coverage.
Special teams will feature punter Bryce Barkley, kickers Williams and Lynk Kordes while Geyer and Schnell will provide return services.
Wagner knows that an option system depends as much on the offensive line as it does on the quarterback. “We should be OK if our young players can fill the positions left open by graduation,” Wagner said. “I worry about our inexperience at running back as well as our offensive and defensive lines.”