After last year’s 3-7 record, second-year head coach Ryan Gorius is looking for bigger and better things for the Bay football program in 2011.
And after Saturday’s scrimmage with Brookside, Gorius felt his team had made some significant improvement since practice earlier in the week.
“Tuesday, we practiced with Lakewood, and offensively we didn’t get off the ball up front,” he said. “Against Brookside, we were able to do that.
“Obviously, when you correct one problem, another one pops up. With the style of offense we’re playing this year, we put the ball on the ground too much. But I was impressed with our running game and our decision making out of the quarterback position. We were also more physical up front.
“Defensively, with the change in our scheme, we’re getting more athletes on the field. I wouldn’t say we got any better or any worse. We just weren’t as aggressive as we were against Lakewood, especially against a Brookside team that was probably 80 percent run,” he said.
On defense, the Rockets are moving from a 4-4 cover three to a 4-2-5, according to Gorius.
“It allows us to get more athletes on the field and match our players to the skills they have,” he said. “We made the change this off season and so far it’s worked well for us.
“Offensively, we went to more of an option run game. Our passing game is still the same, but we felt this type of offense fit our players’ strengths,” he added.
One thing Gorius was thankful for was that his squad got out of the scrimmage healthy, an important factor since the Rockets have just 47 players grades 10 through 12.
“They all have heart,” Gorius said. “These 47 guys want to be here. That’s one thing we don’t have to worry about. They’re tough kids and they want to be successful.”
Bay will have just 10 seniors on this year’s squad, meaning 17 juniors will have to step up and fill roles on both sides of the ball.
Senior quarterback Ryan Kana returns after getting some starts last year when Ryan Hoke was injured. He’ll have senior wide receivers Tim Alteri, Brian Comisky and Sean Quinn back, as well as senior tight end Evan Campbell. Seniors Brian Woos and Matt Gulak are running back candidates.
Up front, Bay has three seniors in Nathan Notarberardino, Adam Hengst and Spencer Uram. And with Alec Petro graduated, junior soccer standout Jack Creech will step in and take over the place kicking duties, according to Gorius.
“Against Lakewood, our defense was outstanding. We were very aggressive, and I was very impressed with our attitude and toughness. We got pushed around when we practiced at Lakewood two years ago, but this year we held our own.
“We had some big hits , and we saw some of that against Brookside too. We just have to get away from some of the slow starts we’re having. In the scrimmage on Saturday, it looked like our feet were in mud because it took awhile for us to get going,” he added.
“Once we did, we were fine,” he added.
The Rockets will open the 2011 season in the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium Aug. 26 when they host Orange.