Troy Buchanan’s Football Team started its season off right over the weekend, in a successful showing at the Kirkwood Jamboree.
But while the scores were positive, it wasn’t points that coach Ryan Nesbitt was concerned with.
The set up of the jamboree was each team got 12 plays of offense and 12 plays of defense in each scrimmage.
The Trojans played perennial power Fort Zumwalt North, Kirkwood High School and Parkway South.
“From a score standpoint, not that [it] was our goal, for the Zumwalt North game, we scored twice and they scored once. Kirkwood: we scored once; they did not score. Then Parkway South: we played basically our J.V. guys, as did they, but we scored once and they didn’t score,” Nesbitt said.
But, as Nesbitt pointed out, the jamborees don’t exist to pad the record going into the season. They are tools to help get the team prepared and to help the coaches see what changes maybe need to be made or even let the coaches see which player is hungrier for the position.
“We use this truly as an evaluation. We’ve got some kids that are in position battles, competing for playing time,” Nesbitt said.
Out of all the goals that Nesbitt may have set for the jamboree, one of the big ones was not picking up any injuries going into the season.
“The first goal was to get out healthy and we did manage to do that,” Nesbitt said.
Troy’s offense, especially the line, is familiar with each other and that showed at Kirkwood.
“Offensively, we’ve got a veteran group coming back, with four out of our five starters on our offensive line. Ethan Jones is the new starter at right guard and we feel really good about him, but we have seven or eight kids that we feel like can play at a really high level on Friday, which is the deepest we’ve been at that position group [offensive line]. We were confident going in with their abilities and they didn’t disappoint,” Nesbitt said.
In other offensive positions, Troy has some real experience as well.
The current starting quarterback is a returning starter.
Nesbitt said that they are still working hard to develop the backup quarterback, where they have a few guys still battling for that job.
“Our fullbacks, right now we are rotating three, all did some things really well. All three of them are guys that are going to play and split touches,” Nesbitt said.
He said that at the running back position, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. At wide receiver, Nesbitt praised the work they did off the ball, blocking, and said that because there was only one pass attempt, the receivers didn’t get many touches. On the defensive side of the ball, Nesbitt is lucky to have pretty much the same group on the offensive line doubling down and playing on the defensive line as well.
“We feel like we have a chance to be an above average high school defense and on the verge of being a really outstanding defensive unit. We’ve got some room to improve in the back end. Our run defense, which was solid, by and large played really well and we’re excited about what our secondary can do,” Nesbitt said.
“It’s been a constant evolution over the last five years, gong in to my sixth year, of just the culture and the brand if you will of our football team. We’ve got some guys that are very tough, disciplined and physical. More so than just the scrimmage, our guys didn’t play with any intimidation, it was a good barometer for our ones of playing against teams that you know are going to be representing late in the post season. It did give us a feel of where we are at here early but I think even more so just watching our kids get up and come in to the workout that we had in the weight room on Saturday morning, the attention to detail in the film room, we just got a veteran group with some lofty goals that we are trying to achieve this year and make it fun to come to work everyday,” Nesbitt said.
On whether or not he used this jamboree as a chance to tinker with his system, Nesbitt said that it wasn’t tinkering with the system as much as it was working to perfect the one they have in place.
“Offensively, we are a flex bone. We are an option football team. Defensively, we run a four-two-five. The jamboree wasn’t necessarily about the competition against the other teams, it was about doing what we do, doing it well, the attention to detail within the individual position groups with understanding of how it affects the big picture. It was good for our guys to start putting it together, play somebody other than themselves. We’ve got plenty to work on and that’s always a good take-away with jamborees,” Nesbitt said.