HV offense could have different look

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   While no one should expect Happy Valley to throw the ball as often as Florida State, head coach Stan Ogg in one regard will try to emulate Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden.
   Plans are drawn for a revamped offense atop Warrior Hill this coming season with offensive coordinator Drew Pettit doing more of the play calling and head coach Ogg to be more Bowden-like, overseeing the action.
   "It's in the process of giving me more control," said Pettit. "He's turned over the reins quite a bit. He still has the final say-so in a lot of things. I think he thought it was a good time from an experience standpoint to give me the opportunity to take on more responsibility.
   "With all the people, the weapons and tools we have to work with, he felt it was a good time to make that change. I really appreciate him for giving me the opportunity to get this kind of experience."
   Pettit has been with Ogg since he came to Warrior Hill as the head coach in 1997. He is looking forward to the increased duties.
   "Me and (defensive coordinator) Greg Hyder came here with Stan in the fall of '97," recalled Pettit. "We've been together ever since. It's going to be a learning experience for both Stan and me. I'm going to make mistakes and make the wrong calls, but hopefully it will work out in the end."
   Happy Valley will resemble the Seminoles in another area more so than they have in years past. The Warriors are going from strictly an option team rarely throwing the ball to using more pass friendly sets.
   "It's going to be different because we have always spent more time putting the ball in the fullback's stomach, running double and triple option," said Ogg. "I personally have been around that longer than the three and five step drop and three and four receivers set that we are doing more of now."
   Part of the reason for the changes is the personnel involved. Starting quarterback Todd Caldwell has a strong arm, while the Warriors will feature a talented group of receivers.
   They also have bolstered their braintrust on the sidelines with former Elizabethton High School quarterback Andy Curtis coming on board as an assistant coach working with the different HV signal callers.
   Both Ogg and Pettit had high praise for Curtis and what his offseason addition has already meant to the team.
   "We hired Andy and brought him in because he's a young guy from a great system," said Ogg. "He had outstanding coaches at Elizabethton. First hand, we knew what kind of player he was after we played against him.
   "I brought him in to work with the young quarterbacks and I've been very pleased. He takes to it and does a great job developing the young quarterbacks. He loves it and he's been able to implement the things he was good at, the straight drop and the quarterback mechanics."
   For Pettit, Curtis has been a close working companion.
   "I knew he was a great quarterback from coaching against him," said Pettit. "I had no idea he was as good a coach. He gets so much done with our quarterbacks and I've learned a lot from just being around him. Especially in this new offense, he is going to be an invaluable asset.
   "We're real happy with him. He's also a good influence around these kids. That's one of the big things that coach Ogg looked at. Andy's just a great person."
   The changes to the offense require different tasks for the players, even the offensive lineman. They now have to master the skill of protecting the quarterback as well as blowing people off the line.
   "It's little less like smash-mouth and a little more finesse to it," explained senior lineman Daniel Dover. "There's not any huge changes. There are more small changes with the pass protection, but we've really come along with it."
   However, if you expect the Warriors to completely abandon the option and its old stand-by play, the fullback dive, you are dead wrong.
   "We're going to play Happy Valley football," stated Pettit. "We can still line up and get in there and run the option. We feel like we can. Right now, we are just playing the cards we are dealt. We've got good young receivers, a good young quarterback and players up front who can protect him.
   "We're going to go with it right now and it's obviously a lot different than what anybody at Happy Valley has seen in a long time."