MARIETTA — After a 5-6 season in 2013, the Marietta Indians football team is back to work trying to fill holes left by graduation.
The biggest loss was Tyler Tatum, but a large leadership void remains that needs to be shored up before games begin in September.
“We lost a lot of good senior leadership last year,” Marietta coach Matt Suffal said. “And we lost our go-to guy offensively and defensively in Tyler Tatum. So we’re looking for his replacement. We’ve had several young guys step in that are going to be sophomores and a couple juniors and two or three seniors as well that have really grown in the weight room. They’ve grown as kids and shown great leadership so far this spring.”
One area that is in good shape is the line, where the Indians have more size than they’ve had in several years.
“We finally got some size up front, which is nice,” Suffal said. “We haven’t had that since I’ve been the head coach here.”
The young roster may have some growing pains once the season starts, but the talent is there to reach the playoffs again after losing to Lindsay in the first round last season.
“We’re going to be real young, but super athletic,” Suffal said. “It will be a learning process early. But, in the end, I think we’ll be pretty good.”
Chris Campos and Robert Riley have shared starting quarterback reps during the spring. Each brings speed to the position, which is crucial in the zone-read sets Marietta uses on offense.
“Both of them can run pretty well,” Suffal said. “We do a lot of zone read stuff and a lot of pistol this spring. They can both run and read it well. On top of that, they throw pretty decent as well.”
Marietta primarily uses three or more wide receivers out of the spread.
The increased size on the line also gives the coaching staff flexibility to run more.
“We’ve got the zone read offense and a little bit of old school veer thrown in,” Suffal said. “It’s pretty much what OU is doing right now.”
The Indians wrap up spring practice today and head to team camp in Healdton on Thursday and Friday.