LOGAN — Win or lose, new Logan coach Billy Burke has an interesting — and logical — way of dealing with the aftermath of a football game.
"We have a 24-hour rule," Burke said earlier this week. "For 24 hours, you celebrate the win or you beat yourself up about the loss — then you have to turn the page and focus on the next opponent. And I think we've turned that page.
"I look at my watch every time I get done speaking to them on Friday night to see exactly what time tomorrow night they're allowed to turn the page," he added with a chuckle.
For the Chiefs, 10 p.m. Saturday couldn't arrive soon enough last weekend.
That’s when it was time for the Purple & White to put the 57-7 shellacking they absorbed at the hands of the Lancaster Golden Gales in the rear-view mirror and start focusing on their week-two foe, the Teays Valley Vikings.
While Logan enters the game off a 50-point loss, the Vikings make their first football trek to Hocking County having won their opener by 30 points (52-22) over Pickaway County rival Williamsport Westfall.
Based on their week-one opponents, it’s way too early for the Chiefs or the Vikings to have a good grip on what kind of team they’re going to be. Logan’s loss was to a much-larger team in Lancaster (high Division I), while Teays Valley (like Logan, a mid-level DII) defeated a Division V foe in Westfall.
Both Logan and Teays Valley are schools roughly the same size who also compete in the same OHSAA playoff division and region.
Burke says facing a team for the first-time ever isn't that big of an issue, especially in this case, when there may be some familiarity with the coach on the opposite side of the field.
“I don't believe it has too much of an impact,” said Burke. Teays Valley coach Steve Evans “was the coach at Reynoldsburg when Reynoldsburg played here (in Logan). Maybe not the schools, perhaps, but their head coach did coach against Logan.”
Evans was coach of the Raiders when they defeated the Chiefs 47-7 in week three of the 2010 season. He also coached at Teays Valley prior to his stint at Reynoldsburg.
“Teays Valley's going to be dramatically different than Lancaster,” Burke pointed out. “You could lump them into the spread package, but they're going to be more option and toss-sweep and have pretty good play-action off it.
“They are a 3-4 defense that tries to run creative blitzes and plays a lot of man-to-man coverages,” he added. “It's more of a representation of two schools who are even in size (and) two teams from the same region.”
However, the Chiefs are without one of their key components. Sophomore quarterback Lane Little went down with a broken collarbone when he was sacked in the third quarter at Lancaster, and he’s out indefinitely.
Adjustments behind center won’t be quite as drastic because senior Nick Kost has been taking QB snaps in ala-Tim Tebow wildcat formation.
“I don't think things will change too dramatically because we had a four-quarterback competition (Kost, Little, and juniors Caleb Lewellen and Casey Phillips) throughout the summer,” Burke stated. “Nick's been our backup all along, so this isn't anything Nick hasn't already done. Nick's had time in our scrimmages and (last week) he threw our first touchdown pass of the season. Plus, it's nice that he's a senior; if he's called to duty, we can feel good about having a senior stepping up.
“We'll still be in shotgun, but our offense is structured to what is the strength of our personnel at that point,” the Logan coach continued. “Each quarterback has different strengths. Nick has some different strengths, especially in being able to run. (The offense is) structured to take advantage of (his abilities). We're not going to do things we don't think he's comfortable doing. If you look at some of these spread-type packages where the quarterback is more involved with the running game, I think it's fair to say that Nick would be more involved in our running game than Lane.”
Game one at Lancaster really didn’t give the Chiefs much of a chance to see what kind of team they are or that they can/will be. Although they didn’t give up or give in, they were eventually physically overwhelmed by the bigger, stronger Golden Gales.
And despite the final score, there’s no embarrassment in that.
“Offensively I think we executed our game plan pretty well,” Burke said. “On defense I thought we were in good pursuit. We struggled on a couple plays with tackling, but I did like the fact our guys were at the ball (in position) and I think those things are going to come with more playing time and experience to secure that guy to the ground.
“I liked our stick-to-it-ness,” he continued. “I didn't get the sense from anybody that they were ready to give up just because things weren't going our way. The other night I told the kids we're not going to be measured by this game; we're going to be measured by how we respond to the adversity (and) how we move forward. I think we've responded fairly well.”
In addition to losing Little, they also played last Friday night without the services of senior receiver/defensive back Nick Maniskas (back) and sophomore running back/DB Cole Baron (sprain).
“Nick Maniskas is day-to-day,” Burke said, noting he wasn’t sure about his status for Teays Valley. “Any amount that Nick plays will be calculated to where we pick our spots.
“I think it's important to the community 'are the kids playing football sort of the way it's meant to be played?,' ” he added. “That means you bring your hard hat, your lunch pail and your work boots every single day and you go to work and do the best you possibly can do.
“To work on tackling (in practice is) difficult in coaching defense sometimes. You have to do live, open-field, full-go, super-intense tackling drills; on the other hand, how do you avoid making sure nobody gets hurt? We lost Cole Baron to an ankle injury the week before (the Lancaster game) because it was a full, live-tackling situation. It's a tradeoff to try to find that good balance.”
For now, the Chiefs are trying to find themselves… and find a victory in the process.
“This past Friday was a good test in the sense of what is it we need to work on,” Burke stated. “Now we have a better sense of how we need to prepare each week and what we need to work on. The kids know that, and by position (know) what strengths and weaknesses stood out that we were or weren't doing very well. That showed Saturday morning (during film sessions).
“A lot of times early in the year you're still finding out who you are,” he continued. “We had the first live competition on Friday night, and it's very chaotic — sometimes guys show they can handle that chaos and sometimes guys aren't able to handle that chaos. We're still in the midst of trying to find the right position for certain guys because it's still early (in the) season.”