High school football practice began across the state on Monday, and the Tribune had a chance to talk with area coaches about what their three most pressing issues are heading into the season. Here is what Grand Haven coach Mike Farley listed as his top concerns, as well as some other notes of interest. The Buccaneers open on Aug. 30 against Muskegon. We highlighted Fruitport in Wednesday’s edition and Spring Lake in Thursday’s.
Determining the depth chart
“The first couple weeks there’s going to be a lot of competition,” Farley said. “Defensive line, defensive backs, running backs. When I first got here, we were very thin at the running back position, and right now we’ve got about six solid kids who can play running back for us. I think that’s the biggest thing. The completion amongst each other will carry itself out these next couple of weeks.”
To see more photos of the Buccaneers' practice, click here.
Farley also mentioned the offensive line, where the Bucs are trying to replace three graduated starters; and quarterback, where senior Karl Johnson and junior Luke Larkin will duel it out. Johnson was the squad’s backup last year, while Larkin started for the JV.
Dealing with the schedule
“I feel like in 118 years of Grand Haven football this has got to be one of the toughest schedules, if not the toughest, our school has ever had,” Farley said.
The Bucs open with last years’ Division 2 runner-up, Muskegon. They follow that up with playoff teams East Lansing and Lowell. In their fourth game, Grand Haven takes on Mona Shores, a team they lost to 21-14 last year, before beginning O-K Red play against East Kentwood the next week.
“We’re just basically a on-game-at-a-time type of team,” Farley said when asked how the team would tackle their difficult slate of games. “We know that we have a tough schedule in front of us. The kids have embraced that. … We just grab our hard hat and go to work. That’s kind of how we approach things.”
Trying to make the playoffs
“The biggest thing is to be able to improve off of last year’s record,” Farley said. “We had a three-year run (from 2009-11) where we were 25-6, 24-3 (in the) regular season. We kind of took a step back (going) 3-6 (last season). The kids are wanting to make a drastic improvement from last year’s record and make a move toward the playoffs.”
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.