There is a new feeling for the McClain Tigers football program in 2015 with different players taking over vacated spots on the roster and the fact there is a new head coach roaming the sidelines for the first time in a decade.

Jeremey Andrews is the new leader of the Tigers' football program, taking over for former head coach of the past 10 seasons, Randy Closson, who stepped down this past spring to spend more time with his family.

For Andrews, he has the task of rebuilding the Tigers program that went winless in 2014 … a program that has gained four wins in the past two seasons combined.

Andrews has coached at the assistant level in various parts of the country, but this will be his first season as a head coach at the varsity level. As an assistant, he’s been a part of many successful programs in Florida, Georgia and Ohio. The new football coach is a 1997 Gahanna Lincoln High School graduate. Andrews is also a graduate of The Ohio State University.

As for taking over the Tigers' football program, how has the summer gone for the new head coach, who took over this past March?

"We had a great summer,” Andrews said. “We had over 40 players every morning. We also had great strength gains over the summer. We also had great commitment and participation by all of the assistant coaches.

"I am very impressed with our team’s effort. We have great kids. This transition has been much easier than anticipated. A big part of this smooth transition has been the willingness of Coach (Randy) Closson to help me with anything I ask of him. I have also been impressed with our group of assistant coaches. I could not have asked for a better group of coaches to work with at the high school and junior high levels."

This season, the Tigers will have a total of nine seniors on their roster, along with six returning players on offense and seven from their defense last season. In all, McClain will have 12 lettermen returning for the '15 season.

As for this summer, nine players for the Tigers didn't miss a day of practice, weight lifting or conditioning. Those players were Gordon Clouser, Alex Hollar, Anthony Rowen, Baxter Wagner, Gabe Adams, Owen O’Connor, Peyton Stuebs, Dakota Elliott and Roland Howland.

Hollar last season was an All-District selection. On offense last season, as a junior, he had 155 rushing attempts for 705 yards (4.5 yards per carry). He also had 12 receptions for 128 yards (10.7 yards per reception). On special teams, Hollar had 40 punt and kickoff returns combined for 644 yards (16.1 yards per return).

In all for the '14 season, Hollar totaled 1,477 yards on 207 touches, an average of 7.1 yards per touch.

With graduation from last season's team, there is a quarterback battle with the Tigers this season, with Tristan Pitzer, O'Connor, Darius White and Justin Osborne all competing to become the next starting quarterback for McClain.

 

With the new era taking shape in Greenfield, the expectations of this team are simple.

"We want to get better every day," Andrews said. "The kids are excited about our offensive and defensive systems. Coach (Keith) Penwell is running the same defense, so the kids are not having to learn a new offense and defense.

"The kids are also excited about the versatility that we will have on offense. We are focusing on speed and efficiency with everything we do."

With Andrews, he spoke about not only his players' excitement in learning the new offense, but he talked about his transition of becoming the Tigers' new head coach.

"It has actually been pretty easy. The kids and the community are eager to have success, therefore, I have had an easy time getting everybody on board," Andrews said. "We obviously have a lot of improving to do, but the kids are hungry and working hard to improve."

In looking back at last season, Andrews wants his football team to learn from the winless season to use it as motivation in '14. As for last year, the Tigers were outscored 107-387, being shut out three times and held to single-digit scoring six times.

On three occasions last season, McClain lost by seven or fewer points, with two of those three losses coming by three points each against Adena and East Clinton, both by 25-22 scores.

"I do not want the kids to forget about last year,” Andrews said. “Many things need to go wrong for an 0-10 season to occur. We want to use that experience as a learning opportunity."

The Tigers open the ‘15 season at home vs. the Adena Warriors of the Scioto Valley Conference on Friday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at McClain Field.