Mavs undergoing a lot of change
First-year coach Dan Bailey is implementing a lot of change at Marvin Ridge High.
Bailey wants to run a high-octane offense and has switched the defense to a 3-4 — former coach Scott Chadwick ran a 4-3.
"The kids have really bought in," Bailey said. "I can not ask any more of them. ... Their attitudes have been dynamic ... what we've done in practice is incredible."
Bailey devised a plan to figure out who his leaders would be.
He started a "leadership course" that was required for anyone interested in being a captain.
"They understand this is their team and they have to lead and have everybody ready to go," he said. "The coaches coach but the players have to lead by example."
Bailey will make his debut as head coach when Marvin Ridge plays at West Montgomery on Aug. 23.
"We've been hit with the injury bug and that has kind of set us back a little bit," Bailey said. "We have some young guys that are stepping in. We have a bunch of sophomores that are going to be playing Friday nights. Once they get the game-time experience they will be ready to go."
The Mavericks will not huddle on offense.
"We're going air raid, no huddle, fast tempo. We'll be four-wide unless it's a running situation," Bailey said. "We're going to be very young. You got four seniors out on the field."
Part of that inexperience will be at the quarterback position.
Junior Turner Schwartz will be the starter if he can hold off junior Jackson Hymann.
Aaron Pilkington started at QB as a freshman last year, but quit the team in the summer.
The Mavericks will lean on senior Jacob Henderson, a four-year starter and the only projected two-way starter.
Henderson has been a tailback most of his career but is starting at receiver as a senior.
"A lot of things have changed but change is good sometimes," Henderson said. "You have to adapt to it. You can't complain about it. ... Everyone is starting to click"
The Mavs will try to speed up the game and wear out their opponents.
"It's a more fast-paced offense," Henderson said. "You get up and do a lot of things with a lot of different athletes. At Marvin Ridge we always have a bunch of average-sized guys that can run. We're going to utilize that as best we can."
The biggest adjustment for Henderson has been picking up the calls from the sideline instead of being in a traditional huddle.
"It's good because you know when you're coming to the line and you're conditioned while the defense is not, it's only going to make it easier to make plays," Henderson said. "It's definitely effective."
Henderson doesn't consider himself a rah-rah type, but knows he's being watched as a four-year starter.
"I've always believed you lead by example," he said. "When you get ball you have to do something with it. You have to show them what to do when you get the ball. You try to not make mistakes and always be that guy doing the right thing."
The Mavericks return senior Yusupha Napier as a starter in the backfield
Napier is a thick running back (5-11, 215) who can churn out yards between the tackles, but also has enough speed to break long runs.
"I'm feeling great about the coach putting a lot of weight on my shoulders because I can carry it," Napier said. "I love pressure so carrying a workload is nothing for me. I'm more than happy to carry it for Coach Bailey."
Napier believes he has put in the work and expects to have a big year.
"The linemen do a great job ... they open up lanes for me so I can get the yards I need to," Napier said. "I don't have a set goal because the sky is the limit for me. I want to do as much as I can. I figure if I strive far then it's there for me. I feel like I get out whatever I put in. I've put a lot of work in."
Bailey sees veterans like Henderson and Napier as guys that have to set the tone, especially when it comes to adjusting to the no-huddle offense.
"That's the part where we have to be mentally tough," he said. "We're working on it as far as the reps, the running and not having time to take a huddle to get a play in. We're lining up on the line, sprinting to the next line and sprinting to the next line. Mental toughness is an intrical part of what we're trying to do offensively."
The defensive switch to a 3-4 scheme was also predicated on using the Mavs' strength of speed over power.
The biggest starter on the defense weighs just 215 pounds.
"We're going to try to bring pressure and make things happen," Bailey said. "We're going to be young and we're going to be lacking game-time experience. We'll catch up and be OK."
Bailey has been impressed with senior safety Austin Chambers.
"He is an awesome leader," Bailey said of Chambers. "He sets up our coverage. He makes sure we're lined up correctly in the box. He eyeballs the offense and gives us all kinds of calls that we need to line up and know who's coming as far as pressure. He has been our quarterback on defense."
Chambers has rocketed up the Mavs' defensive hierarchy in the last year, and is excited about his role.
"I am making all of the pre-snap coverage adjustments and making sure everybody is lined up," Chambers said. "He has asked me to be the leader of the secondary. ... This is my first year coming into the season starting so it's a little new to me. I played a lot last year so I feel comfortable there."
Chambers was more committed than ever heading into his senior year.
"I put a lot of hard work into the offseason," he said. "I came to all of the work outs. I think I set a good example for the younger players. We're kind of starting new with Coach Bailey so we're just trying to set a good foundation for the program. I'm just trying to set that example for everybody."
The Mavericks gave up just 14.8 points per game in 2012 and had two shutouts.
"We were one of the best defenses in the state last year and we want to keep that up this year," Chambers said. "That's our goal. We want to be a top five defense in the state."
Marvin Ridge Mavericks Projected Starters
Marvin Ridge's 2013 schedule
Aug. 23^at West Montgomery
Sept. 6^at Ardrey Kell
Sept. 13^Indian Land (S.C.)
Sept. 20^Rocky River
Sept. 27^Davidson Day
Oct. 4^Victory Christian Center
Oct. 11^at Cuthbertson
Oct. 18^Sun Valley
Oct. 25^at Piedmont
Marvin Ridge's 2012 results
Marvin Ridge 40, East Mecklenburg 7
Ardrey Kell 31, Marvin Ridge 21
Marvin Ridge 31, Cuthbertson 13
Marvin Ridge 20, Monroe 18
Marvin Ridge 36, Indian Land (S.C.) 0
Marvin Ridge 69, Northeast Academy 0
Porter Ridge 21, Marvin Ridge 14
Sun Valley 17, Marvin Ridge 14
Marvin Ridge 24, Anson 21
Marvin Ridge 32, Parkwood 17
Weddington 17, Marvin Ridge 9
2012 3AA Playoffs
Charlotte Catholic 15, Marvin Ridge 12