Teets is ready for a new beginning at California
When Bo Teets took over as head football coach at California, he knew it would be a challenge.
He was leaving one of the area's premier football programs at Monessen, where he was the assistant head coach, to go to a school that doesn't have a lengthy tradition of success.
Plus, the Trojans play in the rugged Black Hills Conference, where the weekly schedule looks like a playoff bracket and where Cal is coming off a tough 2-7 campaign in which the Trojans were outscored 303-142.
Also, he was faced with low numbers as only 26 players are currently on the roster.
However, Teets is not disappointed or down.
In fact, he is excited.
“Right now, we have the quality to be competitive in this conference with any team, including Clairton and Monessen,” Teets said of his squad. “As long as we come out to work hard like we have been and stay healthy. There is no doubt we have to stay healthy.”
Teets and his staff brought in a new system for the Trojans to implement, and he said that because of a lack of numbers he has asked the players to learn various positions.
“We have 26 kids, but we will be mostly playing the same 15 at any given time,” he said. “So we have stressed the importance of knowing how to play different positions depending on the set and look we want to be in.”
One positive for Teets and the Trojans is this is not a team that was decimated by graduation. Cal lost only three seniors from a year ago, so most every starter has seen plenty of action.
On offense, the Trojans will use a spread formation that will include some power sets.
Teets listed his main skill position players as Austin Hunter, Nate Harris, Gavin Anderson, Demetri Clements, Malik Jackson and Cory Adams.
Of that group, Hunter and Jackson will share snaps at quarterback.
“We will use different sets with different personnel,” Teets said. “Whether we are using a speed or power look will determine who plays where at quarterback, running back and receiver.
“But we are confident that the kids we have can perform well.”
Up front, Cal will go with a line that includes returnees Austin Wingo, Jared Magruda, Adam Martin, Nathan Grillo, Dave Roberts and Cameron Stish.
On defense, the Trojans will use a 3-5 set, but will also put an end on the line of scrimmage at times to give a four-man look.
Wingo, Magruda, Martin and Roberts will play up front with Adams, Hunter, Anderson, James Bongiorno and Brad Timko at linebacker.
The secondary will consist of Jackson, Clements and Harris.
Teets said that while his players have taken to the system and worked hard, two of them have emerged as real leaders.
“Wingo and Hunter have really stepped up,” he said. “They have taken the responsibility to be leaders by example to the other players.
“Wingo has already committed to the Air Force, but he is good enough to play at a lot of schools n the next level.”
Looking at the conference, Teets says it is a real meat grinder with five-time WPIAL champ Clairton and his old school, Monessen, at the top of the list.
“You don't win 60-some games in a row and not have an amazing program like Clairton has,” he said. “And with what Monessen has back, I honestly think they are one of the teams to beat in Class A.
“Any team in our conference has the potential to not only make the playoffs, but make some noise once they get there.”
Where do the Trojans fall in?
“I have heard people around the community say it is a shame that we were put in this conference, but I like it,” he said. “I want to play the best and like I said if we stay healthy we can compete. I think we can be a playoff team.
“The playoffs are the goal and that is the only way I will ever have it.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or email@example.com.