September 02, 2011
SKANEATELES - Tim Green couldn't coach his Skaneateles Lakers football team in the offseason. Sure he talked to them. He saw them training and even brought his team to a Syracuse University football camp.
But how the Lakers improved heading into the 2011 season had nothing to do with Green. This year's edition of the Lakers go bigger, faster and stronger - three things that coaches can't control.
"We got some speed. The kids worked really hard in the offseason," Green said. "They got in the weight room, a lot of them were here all the time and they got bigger strong and faster. We should see that paying off."
In the wide receiver corps alone Skaneateles boasts four athletes that turn in sub-4.6 40s. The person throwing the ball to them, Troy Green, also runs a sub-4.6 40. Even the loss of Patrick Roberts, a 6-foot-5 wideout, doesn't seem as bad with the addition of Cory Reed and his 37 inch vertical jump.
It's not just his wide receivers that Green is excited about. The Lakers had a few freak athletes a year ago as well, but this year, name a player and they have got, bigger stronger, faster or all the above.
Connor Herr, their former quarterback, now leader of the defense at lineback: "Connor's one of our best athletes."
Lining up in front of Herr on the line, Luke Dransack was no different, "He's a football player. He's just a football player."
Don't forget about Ryan Sherman, "He's a strong safety, who again, he just lived in the weight room and he got faster, bigger stronger."
And maybe another wide receiver - sort of.
"Brandon Barron, is a defensive end, and Brandon didn't play a lot of defense last year," Green said. "But we got a position that lets him use his size and speed on the end."
It's one thing to run a straight line very fast, but the Lakers have done it making football moves. During their late July trip to Syracuse, Skaneateles practiced with city schools from Class AA and A.
Despite being the smallest school in attendance and only being 7-on-7 drills, the Lakers kept up with schools associated with speed.
"I think the kids have a lot more confidence in themselves," Green said. "We competed at the Syracuse team camp. We did well there. We competed in 7-on-7 all summer and did very well. And went mostly against A and AA teams. We were able to move the ball and were able to defend the pass."
The Lakers showed up to the camp as a B school, but when they take to the field in September they'll be a C school. Skaneateles dropped a class heading into the new season.
The increased speed and drop in class would seem like a match made in heaven, but in reality Skaneateles' road to another winning season didn't get any easier. The Lakers will need to use their bigger, faster, strong psyche early on as Class C didn't exactly roll out the red carpet for the Lakers.
Skaneateles begins the season with a trip to defending sectional champion General Brown, followed up by Bishop Ludden.
But after amassing more wins in 2010 than it had the prior three years, Skaneateles doesn't plan on backing. The Lakers may bring new physical attributes to their games, but mental they are the same team as last year.
"Our goal is a championship. Anything less and we'll be disappointing," Green said. "But that was our mindset last year too. That's how you have to look at it. You have to strive for that and I think we have a realistic chance to do that."
A year after leading all area schools in passing yards last year, Connor Herr takes his place as Skaneateles' starting linebacker. No typo here. Herr was moved to defense and wide receiver as last years original starter, Troy Green, returned to the team healthy.
Green started the first two games, but left midway through the second game Green left with an avulsion fracture in his throwing elbow. In Green's absence Herr lit up opposing defenses.
This year he'll look to return the favor to offenses.
"Connor will be running our defense, it looks like, it's not set for sure, but it looks like Connor will be running the defense at the Mike linebacker," Skaneateles head coach Tim Green said.
Middle linebacker is often called the quarterback of the defense. There probably won't be a more knowledge linebacker in Class C that understands offenses like Herr. Skaneateles had one of the most prolific attacks last years that was engineered behind Herr's arm.
Green is expecting that time of leadership this year on the other side of the ball.
"Connor's definitely going to be a leader for us," Green said. "He's a junior this year so we'll definitely be looking to him."
Still a pass first offense
Skaneateles returns its receptions leader from a year ago in Brandon Barron. The did lose its top touchdown threat though in Pat Roberts. Not to mention the quarterback that made the majority of those throws is now the Lakers' starting linebacker.
Despite the changes and departures, don't expect Tim Green to abandon his run-and-gun offense.
With a couple of new faces at wideout (Cory Reed), in addition to some old ones (Barron and Jake Cooney) the Lakers don't plan on missing a beat.
"We're a passing team," Green said. "We're going to pass first. Hopefully the runs will open up and be there if we run successfully. We have a lot of weapons."