Summer workouts are going much more smoothly for second-year Monroe High School football coach Bill Leach.
“At this time last year, they were trying to figure out what I was all about and I was trying to get to know them,” Leach said. “They know me now and I know them a lot better. We have a year under our belts. They know what to expect and that makes this easier.”
Leach said roughly 40 players have been attending the summer sessions for the Hornets, who are coming off a 1-9 overall record and 0-6 mark in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwest Division.
“You always want more as a coach,” Leach said. “One thing I don’t know is how many we will have wait and come out when we start because of the pay-to-participate. We have to find the ones that didn’t play last year, who have played in the past and try to get them to come back out. It is a matter of getting in the halls and ID-ing those kids, but that is tough to do.”
The numbers, though, have increased throughout the summer.
“We are way up from last year,” Leach said. “It is really promising. The kids are really buying into it.”
The Hornets return a bulk of their skill players, but will have to replace their leading passer (Austin Calkins) and leading rusher (Jordan Jones). Jacob Viars is the top returning rusher after running for 188 yards on 17 carries as a sophomore. Troy Kaiser returns for his senior year after leading the Hornets in receiving.
“We have a lot of our skilled players back,” Leach said. “Our big thing is going to be our offensive line. We are struggling to figure out something up front.”
Monroe has put the skilled players to the test this summer, competing in a seven on seven scrimmage against Wyoming, CHCA and Waynesville.
“We saw that we need to do some work,” Leach said. “We saw some things we need to slow down and really work on. There were some things that were glaring. I still think our strength is going to be our skilled positions.”
Leach said he hopes to feature a two-quarterback attack — one will be more of a passer and the other will direct more of a run attack.
“We have to figure out how to utilize them,” Leach said. “We will probably throw the ball more, but we are not going to sling it all over the field.”
Monroe opens the season at home Aug. 29 against Edgewood.