1st-year coach highlights plenty of changes at Springdale
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Springdale's opponents might pause briefly and wonder if they lined up against the correct team. From coaches to offensive and defensive alignments to starting players, the perennial power Dynamos will sport a much different look this year.
Springdale has earned 10 consecutive trips to the WPIAL Class A playoffs but features more changes this year than in any campaign of the last decade.
First of all, Dave Leasure replaced the venerable Chuck Wagner, who retired after 50 seasons as a high school coach, including the last 19 at Springdale. Wagner rejuvenated what was a doormat program and guided the Dynamos to the 2003 WPIAL Class A title.
Leasure, who has spent most of his 17-year career as an assistant, admitted there's pressure to succeed quickly. Last season, Springdale (8-3) advanced to the quarterfinals.
“People expect to be in the playoffs,” Leasure said. “I understand that. I want to do the little things right and coach to the best of my ability. If I do that, I think the wins will take care of themselves. I think the kids like being around me and have bought into the staff, but the bottom line is you have to win.”
Leasure and his almost entirely new coaching staff installed a variation of the Wing-T offense that allows for more passing than usual from that formation. Previously, Springdale enjoyed great success using the shotgun zone fly attack, which relies heavily on sweeps and quarterback runs.
“They had a great offense, but I don't know it,” Leasure said. “It's not something I can watch film of and put in. I'm not comfortable doing that.”
Defensively, the Dynamos switched from a 3-5-3 to a 3-3-5 formation to deal with a loss of depth at linebacker.
Springdale returns only three starters on offense and four on defense.
Senior Sean Dugan figures to be the centerpiece on both sides of the ball after earning all-conference first-team honors at running back and linebacker last year. Dugan rushed for 1,272 yards and 22 touchdowns on 168 carries and collected 74 tackles, seven interceptions and five sacks.
“He's a great runner, and on defense you can put him anywhere,” Leasure said. “You could put him at nose guard. We put him at outside linebacker so he can help against the run and pass, and we can do some things with blitzes.”
Springdale also will look for leadership from senior two-way tackle James Murray, who was an all-conference second-teamer on offense and defense last year.
Leasure expects senior Jake Helman to take over at quarterback for graduate Joe Killian, who started for two years. Last season, the Dynamos leaned on their productive running attack and averaged about only five passes a game. The number of attempts could increase significantly this year, Leasure said.
“But let's be clear, I understand how good Sean (Dugan) is,” Leasure said. “And I think we have the guys up front and formations where Sean can make some plays. I don't think it's fair to say we'll throw 25 times a game.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates say goodbye to veteran leaders Burnett, Ramirez
- Opposing TEs Miller, Gates took differing paths to greatness
- State woos Kennametal with $1M in incentives to stay in Pa.
- Steelers notebook: Starting DEs not leaving the field
- Pitt, WR Boyd look to break out against Virginia
- NFL notebook: Cardinals to stay in W.Va. ahead of Steelers game
- Gorman: WPIAL must answer with power move
- Marshals seek parole violator who walked away from Downtown treatment center
- Feds aim to bring Chinese military leaders to Pittsburgh for trial
- Jeannette mom accused of drug sale with kids in car
- Arnold man acquitted in rape case