First-year Delaware Hayes High School football coach Zebb Schroeder is hoping that physical Fridays in June and July will turn into physical Friday nights next fall.
Schroeder, who was named coach on March 16 to replace Mike LoParo, wants his players to understand that the smallest player on the team can play physical.
"I believe in creating foundational strength or realistic strength," Schroeder said. "We want to shock the body and we're going about that by making sure no workout is ever the same."
Schroeder is leading a program for the first time after spending the past eight years as an assistant at Olentangy Liberty. LoParo was 16-15 overall and 11-8 in the OCC-Capital Division in his three seasons at Delaware, including the program's first playoff appearance in 2008.
Schroeder said between 30 and 40 players have attended 6 a.m. workouts three days a week during the past month. He's really looking forward to the end of the school year because he has plans to implement a fun, physical environment in which players and groups will compete against one another.
"Every Friday morning we will have a strength and speed competition," he said. "We'll flip tires, throw and carry sand bags and medicine balls, use hammers, have tug of wars, or whatever. We'll use every hill and valley, all the resources we have, to help improve a kid's athletic ability through an obstacle course or relays."
The competition won't be as difficult as "Wipeout" or as lengthy as "The Amazing Race," but Schroeder said each staff member will be responsible for the creation of at least one physical Friday course.
"I'm going to give each one of them a chance to take ownership in this program and when the kids see how much pride that the staff puts into the program, they'll be willing to establish ownership of their program as well," Schroeder said.
Schroder's staff includes Derek Bringardner, Justin Malivuk, Bob Roth and Eric Will, with two more assistants still to be named. Will and Roth were assistants at Liberty with Schroeder. Will is the defensive coordinator, and Roth, who played at Baldwin-Wallace University, will coach the offensive line and special teams and assist with running backs.
Malivuk, who coached and played at Otterbein University, is a defensive assistant who will coach the secondary.
Bringardner, a 2005 Delaware graduate who played at Wittenberg University, is an offensive assistant and will coach running backs and receivers.
"I haven't completed the staff because I wanted to make sure we have a staff of like-minded people," Schroeder said. "I want us to share the same philosophies. We want to create an environment of excellence in everything we do as a staff, players and program. That includes how we drive our vehicles into the parking lot, how we prepare for class, practice, warm-ups and games -- all the way down to how we put our cleats on."
Schroeder expects between 20 and 25 seniors to come out for the team, although the junior class may have only 12 to 15 players. The sophomores, who won nine freshman games last season, has 30 to 40 potential players.
"We haven't decided what type of offense we'll use because I think you have to know your personnel and adjust," Schroeder said. "You can't put a square peg in a round hole. Some years you'll have more beef and some years you'll have more skill-position athletes. Defensively, we'll most likely use a base 3-4."
The coach's allotted 10 days with the players in the offseason will include three mini-camps in late June to acclimate the players to the new terminology. The Pacers will have a team camp July 14-16 at Ohio Wesleyan, using the Battling Bishops' facility for two practices a day and film study.
Two days will be used for special teams camp on July 11 and July 25. There will be a 7-on-7 scrimmage at noon on July 21 at Westerville Central with the host Warhawks, Pickerington North and Gahanna.
The final day will be used for another 7-on-7 scrimmage, but the date and site has not been finalized, Schroeder said.