Will bigger mean better for the Aynor Blue Jackets?
That is the hope for coach Jody Jenerette, whose team will have its biggest offensive line in recent memory.
"We're going to be about 240 [pounds] across the board, hopefully. You've got to coach physicality, be physical," said Jenerette.
That size up front prompted a change in offensive scheme as Aynor switches to a double wing offense that puts a premium on power, closed gaps between offensive linemen and misdirection while grinding down the field, keeping the other team's offense on the sidelines and keeping the clock running.
"You've got to take the air out of the ball and not just play defense. I think in the situation we've been in at Aynor, our clientele leads us to not play defense," Jenerette said. "If we are playing too much defense, we are going to get beat pretty bad, so we try to keep the clock ticking. That's the most important thing we are going to do with this offense. Be happy with three [yards], if you get four, that's basically a touchdown."
That big line will be anchored by a two third-year starters among seven returning offensive starters in Walt McCracken (5-10, 251) and all-region pick Seth Harrelson (5-11, 241). Tight end Phil Doyle (6-0, 192) is also a third-year starter, but a preseason neck injury leaves his season in doubt.
"We've got a bunch of good, young linemen that I really like. I've had more fun coaching since the spring than I've had in the last six years I left Conway. It's the funnest group I've ever coached. We've had a blast and we're just excited about getting the season started," Jenerette said.
The Blue Jackets will feature a handful of able ball carriers, paced by state 400-meter hurdles champion Devante Kinlaw (5-11, 154) along with playmaker Layton Nobles (5-11, 141).
Senior quarterback Peyton Hill (6-1, 169), who passed for more than 500 yards last season, is back, but Jenerette said sophomore Hunter Windham (5-11,159) has made a strong push for the starting spot.
"We've got two [quarterbacks] right now, but at Aynor you better have three or four because we get a bunch of people hurt for some reason. I reckon it's 'cause we aren't blocking too well," Jenerette said.
The Blue Jackets will use an eight-man front on defense that has seven starters back.
Aynor's schedule starts with four Class A teams plus a trip to Hilton Head Prep with an off week before beginning region play against Dillon, the defending Class AA state champs.
"We've got five Class A teams to start off with. That doesn't mean anything. I just hope we can play a little better than what we have in the past."