"When you have experienced receivers, they can meet with their quarterback on the sideline and discuss routes with better effect," Mays said. "Having two seniors there, they understand how to beat a particular defender."
South Charleston has not appeared in the playoffs since its eventually forfeited win against Brooke in the 2010 semifinals. The last time SC missed the playoffs in consecutive years was 2003-04, the final seasons of a 10-year playoff drought experienced by the program in seasons coached by Todd Chevalier (who went 14-36 in five seasons from 1996-2000) and Vernon Redman (15-37 from 2001-05).
Chevalier sought a return to his former post after Messinger's retirement, but SC Principal Mike Arbogast gave the Eagles' highly successful offensive coordinator the nod most expected he was due.
That belief stemmed not only from Messinger's tendency to highlight the work of his assistants to all who would listen but also from the fact that it was Mays' version of the zone-read option offense that helped paved the way for the Black Eagles' to win state championship seasons in 2008 and '09.
Chevalier's son, Tyler, was a junior offensive lineman at South Charleston in 2012. He now attends George Washington.
The departure of the rising senior underscores what already looked to be Mays' biggest chore in 2013: building a formidable offensive line to front SC's shotgun formation.
"We have eight or nine offensive linemen that we think can start and play," Mays said. "Biggest thing is we want to know who can be a center.
"Every kid takes snaps on a daily basis whether they're a tackle or a guard. That's where you have to build out from, is the center."
Mays, who served as SC's offensive line coach in 2006 and 2007 before assuming offensive coordinator duties late in the '07 season, said rising sophomore Andrew Bishop (6-2, 285) and senior Khance Johnson (6-1, 230) are two who have excelled during the offseason, at guard and tackle, respectively.
"We have some big kids who can move," Mays said. "I don't think we're as short-handed as we look."
South Charleston opens the regular season at George Washington on Thursday, Aug. 29.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.tay...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT