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Indians aiming for stability with Doby guiding the way

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

It’s difficult to create consistency in a program when there are five different head coaches in five years. Alex Doby knows that, and the first-year head coach believes the Marietta High School football team has the potential to be successful with the right type of support and leadership. 

“When I took the job, I got to watch a lot of their film from last year and the year before that — I don’t think it’s been a talent issue,” Doby said of the previous struggles. “Obviously having a swinging door for coaches that leave every year, having to install a new offense every year, a new defense and a new culture — it creates some inconsistencies. I believe with the structure I’ve put in place we’re going to have a chance to compete here. I really do.” 

The first step in that journey is creating culture and Doby started to infuse one on June 2. That lesson may not have caught on at first, but it didn’t take long for the Indians to learn they had a coach who isn’t going anywhere.  

“I demand quite a bit from them,” Doby said. “I’ve been extremely consistent for them. In my organization and what I’m expecting out of them, I think they’ve appreciated it. The first couple of weeks I think they were testing me to see if I was going to let up or change. That’s not how I’m wired.” 

And Doby’s coaching method has positively impacted the program with an addition of 12 athletes to the roster. And he is determined to get the most out of everyone by installing a physical philosophy. 

“We’re going to make defenses actually have to execute and play defense,” Doby said. “They’re going to have to defend some old-school football with a little bit of new-school wrinkles. I have Ryan Keaton calling the offense, working with coach Jake Patterson.” 

Those two and Doby will have to make a tough decision on who is under center for Week 1 as returning starter and senior Nolan Birks has some competition for the job. 

“Right now Nolan Birks is probably going to wind up being the guy,” Doby said. “(But) he has (Jonathan Lohmeyer) chomping on his heels because the sophomore is extremely hungry.” 

Marietta will have to make a decision soon, but some other athletes have already cemented themselves as candidates for breakout years. 

Doby expects senior Garrett Morgan to be special offensively at tailback, while also playing at corner. Easton Sherfield is another senior that Doby mentioned and he is a familiar face. 

“I actually coached him at Ardmore before he transferred down here a couple of years ago,” Doby said. “He is well aware of what I expect out of the outside linebacker position. He has a chance to be pretty special.” 

The Indians will find out just how special this group is when they open the 2020 campaign on the road at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 against Healdton. 

“I had a ton of success while I was at Ardmore and I see the glimpses that we have a chance to be pretty good here,” Doby said. “I’m just waiting until they see live competition because I have to work on their culture. And dealing with adversity when negative things happen — how are they going to respond? On top of it, if we have some success — how are you going to go respond to success? That’s almost more dangerous.”