Without Division I prospect, Woodland Hills hoping to adapt quickly
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Woodland Hills always seems to find a way to replace star players lost to graduation.
Things might be different in 2012.
A pair of third-year starters — senior linebacker Alex Beasley and senior lineman Jawan Turner — are among the few who are drawing collegiate attention for a program that, in 2011, had more players in the NFL than all but St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida.
“They're both six-footers, which probably a big reason why they're not recruited as much,” Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. “They're both very talented players and they're leaders, and they're going to be two of our top guys.”
Woodland Hills finished last season on a disappointing three-game losing streak, including a 28-21 loss to Mt. Lebanon in the opening round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.
Things won't be much easier in 2012 after graduation gutted much of the team and the Wolverines didn't really have an opportunity to play a lot of their younger players in critical situations a year ago. That means Woodland Hills players will have to garner their much-needed game experience on the fly.
“We don't have a lot of experience on the offensive and defensive lines for the first time in a long time,” Novak said. “We have some experience at the skill positions, and it's kind of unique here because we do have a lot of competition at our skill positions.”
One player that already has earned his starting job is senior wide receiver Tom Greene, who played opposite University of Cincinnati freshman Shakim Alonzo in 2011.
Greene only caught six passes for 56 yards, but at 6-foot-3 has the kind of size that could make him an impact player in the passing game with new quarterback Cody McClelland.
“I think Tom learned from Shakim and just waited his turn because Shakim and (former quarterback Pat Menifee) had a special relationship because he always looked for Shakim first,” Novak said. “Now Cody is looking at him most of the time, and they're starting to have that same relationship.”
Another factor that doesn't work in the favor of a young team is the biennial realignment that eliminated an entire conference in Class AAAA and lumped all the teams together into three mega-sections. Because of the shift, teams will no longer have up to four nonconference games to start the season, but will instead jump right into conference games with postseason implications from Week 1.
“It was good before if you had a young team because you would have a chance to try some different things and develop players,” Novak said. “We have a lot of seniors every year, so it was a plus for us.”
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.
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
- Arrogant media elites mock Middle America
- Steelers release WR Lance Moore
- Just for Giggles, FBI tags along, finds more than sports paraphernalia at Pittsburgh store
- Police charge Beaver County sex offender who snuck into Pittsburgh science center
- Pirates notebook: Hart ‘down a few days’ after cutting foot
- Whistleblower claims Allegheny County’s human services director violated 2003 lawsuit settlement
- Police say teen driver was drinking in Butler ATV crash that killed passenger
- Shale drilling boom a bust for some Western Pennsylvania towns
- Rossi: Fitting in will be Kang’s biggest hurdle