Q. How would you characterize this year’s team?
A. Bigger and stronger.
Q. Who will be your key leaders on the team?
A. Logan Strickland (Sr., MLB), Victor Dodd (Sr., DE), Alex Williams (Sr., G/DE), Wilson Benefield (Sr., LS/DE), David Dorsey (Sr., CB/FS), Arlington Ferguson (Sr., WR/CB), Caleb Flickner (Sr., C/DE), and Alex Higgins (Sr., NG/DE).
Q. What are your biggest reasons for optimism?
A. Our players have had an incredible off-season in the weight room. We currently have over 20 guys squatting 400+, and four over 500. Added strength should translate to more confidence and a physical state of play which has been missing at Cleveland.
Q. What can you build on from last year?
A. We have been making strides to become a more physical program. If we can take another step with that, we have a chance to be good. Our balance on offense last year was an impressive 50/50 run/pass ratio, so we would like to keep that balance this year. Defense had some good games but needs more consistency.
Q. Any lessons learned from last year?
A. Cleveland is an incredible school with great academics, facilities, coaches, administration, and teachers, and we need to come together to be #onecleveland.
Q. Will we see anything different this year?
A. Yes. There’s a new defense and a few new twists on offense and special teams. Adam Renshaw moves back to offense as coordinator, Brad Benefield is now special teams coordinator, and Brandon Harmon joins us from Marion County as defensive coordinator. Defense is now a 3-3 stack.
The schedule is brutal, but we should be better equipped to handle it with improved size and strength. Maryville, Knox Catholic, Bradley, Ooltewah, Rhea Co., etc. always present their challenges. Being tough and staying healthy are keys. We have potential to be a better team with guys that care about each other and are not selfish in their attitudes or play. It should be a fun group to coach.
Photos by Gina Allison and GENorkus Photography