By Chris Slone
May 1, 2014
The Green Bobcats have struggled on the gridiron in recent memory. Last season was no exception, as the team finished with a 2-8 record.
However, as the spring season graces southern Ohio, a new chapter in Green’s storied program is about to be written. The Bobcats have taken the first step toward prominence in hiring Ted Newsome to replace departing coach Dan McDavid.
Tasked with changing the culture of the football program, Newsome has wasted little time on the Xs and Os of the game, and more time on his squad’s attitude.
“We are going to go right to the drawing board,” Newsome said. “We are going to teach fundamentals, hard work; we are not going to be fancy but we are going to do things the right way.”
Newsome’s current strategy is simplistic by design, with football basics and execution on the forefront of his game plan.
“We are going to have a very high expectations and we are going to teach the things that win football games,” Newsome said with an aplomb attitude. “That is what we are going to be fanatical about. We are going to work every single day. We believe the team that wins football games is the team that tackles the best and blocks the best.”
The new coaching staff will weclome three returning senior starters from a year ago — Mark Allen, Ryan Gaffney and Alex Otworth.
Gaffney will compete for the quarterback position in the fall and will also play in the defensive secondary. Allen will play fullback and inside linebacker. Otworth will either play outside linebacker or defensive end in Newsome’s 4-4 (four lineman and 4 linebackers) defensive scheme.
Offensively, the Bobcats will primarily do most of their damage on the ground, which will feature a lot of option football. But for the moment, Newsome isn’t trying to sell the community on his football schematics, he is trying to sell the fan base on the possibilities he envisions for this football program.
“We have the opportunity to build something special because I’ve seen the pride in the community. There is a fire for this football program to succeed in Franklin Furnace,” Newsome said.
“They are going to see a football team that is going to play until the last second runs off the clock,” Newsome said. “We will not surrender. We are going to fight until the last second. We are going to be an aggressive, well coached, disciplined football team.
However, building a successful team isn’t all about Friday nights. Newsome knows the importance of delivering his message to the Franklin Furnace community, and he has a very direct message to the Bobcat faithful.
“We want to give this community something they can be proud of, and that’s not just wins or losses,” Newsome said. “It’s about how we conduct ourselves and how we represent the Franklin Furnace community as great competitors and great sportsman.”
“We are the opposite of white flag, we are a black flag team, which means we never surrender.”
One challenge Newsome will face is finding players who are eager to join the program. While fielding a full roster at a small high school can be challenging, Newsome is hopeful he can bring an exciting culture back to the Bobcats, which will excite the Green student body, increasing the team’s roster numbers.
“We’ve got to give them a reason to want to be there,” Newsome said. “We’ve got to make it fun and we have to make it special. We have to let them know, if they are a part of this program, it’s not a privilege, it’s an honor.”
Newsome makes the short trek to Franklin Furnace from West, where he was an assistant under coach Merril Triplet who announced his own retirement after last season. However, Triplet did not stay away from the game for long as he has volunteered to coach on Newsome’s staff. Triplet will coach the defensive backs.
Before his lone season as a Senator assistant, Newsome spent 14 years coaching at his Alma Mater, Portsmouth High School, under the tutelage of Curt Clifford. Newsome credits Clifford for his coaching success.
“He has been my mentor,” Newsome said. “I want to express my gratitude to him for what he’s done for me and my career. I would not be here without him. He was the one that gave me the opportunity in the coaching profession.”
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or on Twitter @PDTSportsEditor