The road at the start of Connor Astley’s tenure as head football coach at McNary doesn’t get any easier in week two.
Eight days after losing to a top-five program coming off back-to-back quarter finals appearances in Lakeridge, McNary somehow steps up the competition when 2021 runners up Tualatin comes to Keizer, Saturday.
But Tualatin is a different looking team than last season. 12 all-league players have moved on, and head coach Dominic Ferraro is ready for his first season with the Timberwolves.
But Ferraro brings something with him that could give Tualatin another new look, the Ricky Bobby offense.
Yes, you guessed it, they want to go fast.
The Ricky Bobby offense may not be a common theme across the country, but Astley has some familiarity with it, as it got its start at his alma mater Southern Oregon University under former head coach Craig Howard and former offensive coordinator Ken Fasnucht.
“They want to play fast and attack and get you in a base defense which they think they can take advantage of,” Astley said. “We’ve got a couple things that will help us out this week but we’ve just got to make sure we’re in the right spots and take care of business.”
Running this new offense for Tualatin is senior quarterback Jack Wagner. This is his first season as starter after appearing behind center in two games last season. Astley said Wagner is very elusive, and likes to run the ball.
Paired with Wagner is a young offensive line featuring four new starters. Despite the lack of experience Astley thinks the Tualatin line looks great, especially right guard Scott Copeland who Astley said kicks out and pulls very well.
While Astley thinks they match up defensively one-on-one better with Tualatin than they did Lakeridge, he points out that the Timberwolves do a lot of things that will make them not want to play man defense.
The game is McNary’s only non-Friday game of the season. And a Saturday setting gives something special, according to Astley.
“You get to play on Saturday, which means you’re playing the same time college football players are” Astley said. “You get to feel what it’s like to play on a Saturday. Be that big time college player that all these kids aspire to be.”