Prep football: Hoover program looking up in the offseason
After suffering through a disappointing 1-9 season last fall, there's plenty of room for improvement this season for the Herbert Hoover football program.
And the Huskies began their quest for improvement just days after their last season ended.
"We had a great turnout in the weight room this past year," said Coach Tim Meyer, who will enter his fifth season when fall camp begins in August. "They've come out since November and been ready to work and make improvements. Things are looking really good so far.
"Before baseball and track seasons started up, we were getting around 30 to 35 kids in the weight room every day, so we really had a good off-season."
That off-season continues as the Huskies participate in the annual three-week June practice period for West Virginia high school athletes.
Hoover has 45 players practicing this summer as the program begins its second season running a triple-option offense in place of the more pass friendly spread offense the Huskies had run in the previous three seasons.
"We just trying to make sure the kids really learn the offense and defense," Meyer said. "We did throw a couple of different wrinkles in, a couple little changes in from last year. It's not really a big change from what we did, but things are going to be a little bit different."
The ability to tinker with the offense is a luxury the Huskies' coaching staff didn't have last season as the offense was being taught and learned.
"One of the big things over last year is familiarity," Meyer said. "Last year, we were going to the triple option and there was a heck of a lot of stuff that we really had to get down, especially with our quarterbacks.
"This year, they have those reads down pretty well and that allows us to work on some things that really needed to be addressed from last year."
Hoover returns a pair of experienced signal-callers in senior Brenden Holbrook and junior Tyler Americo. Holbrook began last season as the starter, but suffered leg injury in the Huskies' season opener. Americo finished that game and started the final nine games of the season. He finished the season 575 passing yards, while connecting on 57-of-119 passes for three touchdowns and five interceptions.
With Holbrook healed and ready to go, the two again are competing for the starting position.
"It's going to be a good competition and it's going to be tough to pick a starter, because both of them really do things pretty evenly," Meyer said.
"Their skill sets do differ a little bit. Depending on what defenses are doing and what we're planning on doing, it may be a case in which we use an alternating quarterback system.
"Brenden does a little better job at reading the veer," he added, "but Tyler got a lot better during the nine games he started last season. Tyler throws the ball a little better, but again, Brenden is no slouch at throwing the ball either."
The quarterbacks do share a common trait in which neither has a clear advantage.
"The thing above all else for both of them is that they've both become great leaders for us," Meyer said. "They've done a heck of a job being leaders out there. Whether we have a single starter or a rotating quarterback system, they're both going to be on the field for us one way or another."
The triple-option attack will also benefit from the return of leading rusher Shaun Dotson. Dotson ran for 716 yards on 151 carries (4.7 avg.) and six touchdowns as a sophomore last season.
"We're going to be running some triple option and Shaun Dotson really stepped up big for us," Meyer said. "Last year, he was good and we're going to let him carry a little bit more of the workload this year."