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McGuffey enters season with new coach, players, conference

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 9:02 p.m.

McGuffey hired Ed Dalton to revive a near comatose football program over the offseason, and the new coach and athletic director has his work cut out for him.

Dalton, who was the coach at Trinity for 12 years, isn't the only new guy this summer.

The Highlanders entered training camp with roughly 45 players on their roster, 30 of which had never played football before this season.

“We went and recruited kids in our school that were great athletes but weren't playing football for whatever reason,” Dalton said. “Wrestlers, basketball players, baseball players, and the equation for us is to turn that athletic potential into football players.”

Dalton and his coaching staff will try to implement a Multiple-I system offensively, and continue to preach a versatile 4-3 defense that is capable of looking like a 50 or a 4-4 set depending on personnel.

“I brought five of my former coaches at Trinity with me, and we kept several of the better coaches on staff here, so we are all on the same page with what we are looking to do,” Dalton said.

The problem may be getting a team of young players with only three returning offensive starters on that page. Brent Balarczyk will undoubtedly play a major leadership role as a two-year starter at fullback and middle linebacker.

Experience is relative on this roster. Sophomore quarterback Nate Whipkey started one game in 2011 — one game more than 30 of his teammates have seen from the sidelines.

“Our theme this season is we don't have time,” Dalton said. “Can we get it going right now? Can we put in the work required to bring our skill levels up to where we can be effective right now? Athletically, the parts are there, but we just won't know if it's there from a football standpoint until we get (playing).”

McGuffey also will face an unknown with its opponents, as it dropped down from the Class AAA Big Eight Conference and joined the talented Class AA Century Conference.

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