Bulldogs set to unveil no-huddle offense
The Heath High School football team doesn't plan to waste much time when it has the ball this season.
In an attempt to control the tempo of the game, 13th-year coach Mark Collier has installed a no-huddle offense this season.
The Bulldogs, who open Friday, Aug. 30, at home against Bloom-Carroll, don't seem concerned about divulging plans for their new offensive game plan given that they have T-shirts that read "Fast Break Football."
"We're going to do the same stuff we've always done in the past. We're just not going to huddle up," said Collier, who has a 69-55 record with the Bulldogs. "We are going to go at a faster pace when we want to, hopefully, is the plan.
"We just want to be able to control the tempo. When we want to go fast, we can go fast. When we don't want to, we can slow it down."
Heath, which finished 4-6 overall last season, still will operate out of its base offense, a pro-I set that utilizes multiple looks and formations. However, Collier is hoping that employing a no-huddle offense will help protect his young team from being exploited by opposing defenses. The Bulldogs have only six seniors on their roster.
"The fact that we are a little bit younger, if you get on the ball and make the defense have to line up and go, it is more difficult to have multiple fronts, have multiple blitz packages and all that kind of stuff," Collier said. "If you're playing against a little bit more of a base defense, it might give our kids a little bit better opportunity to maybe be successful against it."
Camron Romine (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) is expected to be a key player on both sides of the ball this season. The junior, who started at free safety a year ago and was named special mention all-district in Division IV, will be the Bulldogs' featured running back this season.
"Last year, I feel we were very slow off the line and things like that," Romine said. "This year, we're going no-huddle. We have play wrists that have all our plays on it and (the coaches will) signal (the play) from the sideline.
"I personally like it a lot better. You get play after play, just real quick, and you don't give the defense time to sub."
Junior Aidan Dyer (6-2, 175) is expected to be the starting quarterback, replacing 2013 graduate Chase Geller. Dyer played tight end last year and suffered a broken leg in the season finale, a 48-34 loss to Licking Valley.
Dyer's primary target is expected to be junior wide receiver Bobby Kazar (6-6, 185). Other key players in the receiving corps are senior wide receiver Jaivon Gresham and junior tight end Jackson Kaiser. Gresham is a first-year player.
The offensive line is expected to include sophomores Sam Lunsford (6-4, 360) and Payton Booth (6-1, 200) and junior Donny Beistel.
On defense, Heath will employ a 3-3 stack. Among the key players are Beistel and junior Tyler Felumlee on the line, Booth, Kazar and sophomores Mike Postelwaite and Elijah Senior at linebacker and Romine, Gresham, seniors Matt Kasar and Erik Williams and junior Billy Beistel in the secondary.
Heath, which won only two of its first seven games last season before winning two of its final three, was a playoff qualifier in 2009 and 2010 but has missed the postseason the past two seasons.
The Bulldogs have moved from the MSL-Ohio Division to revived Licking County League this season and are in the Small School Division with Johnstown, Newark Catholic, Northridge and Utica.
"This team will be good," Collier said. "I don't know when. I don't know if we'll be good by opening day, I don't know if we'll be good by week six. Maybe we won't be good until next year. There is going to come a point in time where this group of kids are good. They are good kids, they like to come and work, they are willing to learn and, for the most part, they are coachable. It is a matter of time."