New coach wants to bring balance to Mt. Lebanon offense
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Mike Melnyk didn't know what to expect at Mt. Lebanon, other than that he was inheriting a program with a proud tradition of winning WPIAL championships and running the football.
He wants the seven-time WPIAL champion Blue Devils to do more of the former and less of the latter.
Melnyk comes from Manheim Township, where he was 75-63 in 13 seasons, winning two Lancaster-Lebanon League titles. He replaces Chris Haering, who was 111-71 in 17 seasons at Mt. Lebanon, with 13 playoff appearances and a WPIAL Class AAAA title in 2000.
“They were very good at running the football. That jumps out at you when you look at tape,” Melnyk said. “I'm going to play to the strengths of my kids. We're going to try to build on what they were good at, which is running the football. We probably will throw the ball more than six times a game, though. I'm going to try to keep people off balance and be good at what we do.”
Where the Blue Devils last year relied heavily upon graduated tailback Luke Hagy, the school's all-time leading rusher, they are expected to throw more this season with senior quarterback Tyler Roth, an all-conference cornerback also regarded as one of the WPIAL's top punters.
“Last year, we ran the ball a lot, and it worked for us. We pounded the ball down people's throats,” Roth said. “This year, we're going to be a lot more balanced. It gives a lot more freedom for me and all the skill guys.”
Where 6-foot-5, 295-pound junior tackle Alex Bookser is the only returning starter on the offensive line, the Blue Devils bring back most of their skill players, including twins Tim and Michael Briercheck at fullback and receiver, and receiver-return specialist Dmitri Orfanopoulos. The most dangerous weapon appears to be junior receiver Troy Apke, a 6-foot-2, 195-pounder who has a Pitt scholarship offer.
“We've tried to raise the bar, tried to make some changes and ask the kids to try to do some things a little bit differently,” Melnyk said.
“(Haering) did a great job, and we want to try to elevate the program and take it to another level.”
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.
- Pa. trooper ambush suspect Frein in court after long manhunt
- Man prosecutors say Ferrante was jealous of tells jurors he invited both to his home
- Veteran LB Harrison: Steelers must play to way defense is set up
- 5 Cal U football players arrested for assault; Saturday’s game canceled
- Fleury, Penguins too much for Kings
- Pirates likely to seek pitcher, catcher when free agency starts
- Emaciated Lab-collie mix found in garbage bag in New Stanton
- Steelers notebook: Fully healthy, rookie WR Bryant progressing fast
- ‘Big play’ moniker fits veteran Steelers cornerback Gay
- Rossi: The best Penguins defense is ... a potent offense
- Hackers’ new Dyre malware infects W.Pa. computers, vexes FBI cyber agents