Change in the ‘Air?’

RIDGWAY, Pa. – One of the tricks to navigating the unique football co-op between Sheffield and Abraxas is figuring out how to design a scheme that maximizes the team’s potential in quick fashion.

Not knowing for sure what type of players you’re going to get from year-to-year can make it difficult to implement a base offense and defense in the offseason. Even for those who have been around the program for decades, as second year head coach Chris Korbar found out last season.

“The biggest thing was trying to adjust to the head coach responsibilities,” he said during the District 9 Football League Media Day Wednesday. “We have to find a way to mesh attitudes and beliefs. A lot of people don’t understand how challenging it is. But it’s worth the effort.”

Part of the challenge too is getting those returning players to get to offseason conditioning and summer workouts while being pulled in multiple directions. Something Korbar found out early in his tenure. The numbers were so low last summer it prompted Warren County School District officials to hold a meeting to determine whether the program would continue.

The Wolverines turned out for the meeting and played in 2018, but are still working to find a balance for offseason program attendance.

“It’s still a struggle,” Korbar said. “There’s a mentality we have to breakdown. It’s a work in progress.”

“We have to realize what’s working and what isn’t and try to bring the team together,” senior Walker Kyler added.

Something that may drive renewed interest in the program is a shift in offensive philosophy. A drastic one if Korbar can put it all together.

“We were productive at the Brookville 7-on-7,” he said. “We were competitive and the kids were happy. There’s a chance the guys are able to do more.”

When asked what that offensive change might entail, Korbar had a two-word answer.

“Air Coryell,” he said with a smile.

The “Air Coryell” offense was named after former NFL coach Don Coryell. In simplest terms, it’s a vertical passing offense that relies primarily on a one-back two tight end set with multiple formations, shifts and motions to create matchups that favor the offense.

To say that would be a change from the traditional ground-and-pound the Wolverines have run in the past would be an understatement.

“They showed me there could be some air raid,” Korbar said. “We have some new things we can run. Maybe we need to switch things up.”

Heat acclimation begins Monday with the official first day of fall camp Aug. 12. To make this switch, Korbar will have to rely on those players who have been participating all summer to help get everyone on the same page.

“We know what the expectations are and are able to help lead the team,” Kyler said. “We know what the coaches want and can help the Abraxas players do what we want to do.”

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