FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Comets revive ground game


By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com



<p style="text-align: right;">Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times The Comets are tackling hard in practice this week as the regular season opener nears. They’ll take the field at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28 to host Kenston at home.

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times The Comets are tackling hard in practice this week as the regular season opener nears. They’ll take the field at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28 to host Kenston at home.


COACHES GET VIDEO REPLAYS

Tablets will be used on the Amherst sidelines to review plays this year for the first time.

Comets head football coach Bill Fishleigh is excited about the ability to instantly review what happens on the field, calling the technology “a game-changer.”

“I think it’s priceless. I’ll be able to see end zone film and just to be able to see the lineup and each snap is an unbelievable advantage,” he said. “It’s going to be a new piece in the chess game.”

Fishleigh said he’ll be able to review game footage to discover where mismatches are made on the field and adjust his players accordingly.

Officials will not use tablets for instant replays, however.

Nor will players be allowed to see the video. Tablets can’t be taken beyond the sideline numbers.

The tablets are being rolled out with the blessing of Ohio High School Athletics Association football commissioners but Fishleigh believes opposing coaches will probably protest their use.

“We did check and OHSAA told us it’s all legal. It’s like decades ago when headphones came into use,” he said. “There were coaches who said they gave an unfair advantage… Now they are common.”

Expect to see mud up the middle of the football field this year as the Comets go back to their roots.

“We’re going to be mostly a running team,” said Amherst head coach Bill Fishleigh, giving his vision for the fall season. “Obviously if you run the ball a lot you have to do more play action so we’ve put a lot more of those plays in too.”

Senior Nick DeJesus, who played as quarterback last year, is the likely candidate to return to the spot though junior Johnny Matakovich and sophomore Hunter Cassidy are in the mix as well.

Look for them to get the ball to senior running backs Cooper Cotterill, Todd Hastings, and Noah Jackson or to spy out wide receivers Alec Platz and Cam Jackson, both juniors.

Junior Mark Harris, who played a lot at safety last year, will also go wide but will split time on both sides of the ball, Fishleigh said.

Comets fans should pay attention to sophomore Evan Shawver, who will be thrown into the deep end with touches early in the season in the wide receiver spot.

The offensive strategy this year will be to put the quarterback into more manageable situations, Fishleigh said. That means scaling back the throwing game and ripping some pass plays — ones that were novel and dynamic but simply not working — out of the book.

Team morale and relationships also need work if the Comets are to find success, he said: “There were times last year, when we had so many losses, building trust and camaraderie was hard.”

Fishleigh, who took over the Amherst football reins last year, is feeling much more comfortable with the 2015 opener rapidly approaching.

“I have confidence in the program,” he said. “The kids are buying in. They know what the expectations are. There’s no more of that learning curve. We’re just in practice focusing on getting better.”

Scrimmages aside, the season will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28 at Amherst. The Comets will host the Kenston (Chagrin Falls) Bombers.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times The Comets are tackling hard in practice this week as the regular season opener nears. They’ll take the field at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28 to host Kenston at home.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/08/web1_DSC_3210.jpg

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times The Comets are tackling hard in practice this week as the regular season opener nears. They’ll take the field at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28 to host Kenston at home.

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@civitasmedia.com

COACHES GET VIDEO REPLAYS

Tablets will be used on the Amherst sidelines to review plays this year for the first time.

Comets head football coach Bill Fishleigh is excited about the ability to instantly review what happens on the field, calling the technology “a game-changer.”

“I think it’s priceless. I’ll be able to see end zone film and just to be able to see the lineup and each snap is an unbelievable advantage,” he said. “It’s going to be a new piece in the chess game.”

Fishleigh said he’ll be able to review game footage to discover where mismatches are made on the field and adjust his players accordingly.

Officials will not use tablets for instant replays, however.

Nor will players be allowed to see the video. Tablets can’t be taken beyond the sideline numbers.

The tablets are being rolled out with the blessing of Ohio High School Athletics Association football commissioners but Fishleigh believes opposing coaches will probably protest their use.

“We did check and OHSAA told us it’s all legal. It’s like decades ago when headphones came into use,” he said. “There were coaches who said they gave an unfair advantage… Now they are common.”