Our series of offseason interviews with area coaches continues today with Andover Central football coach Tom Audley.
If you’d like to hear from a specific coach, regardless of sport, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q&A with Andover Central football coach Tom Audley
Although Andover Central qualified for the Class 4A playoffs in 2009 for the eighth straight season, it was a tough season. The Jaguars finished 4-6, Audley’s first losing season in the eight years of the school’s program. Andover Central now moves into Class 5A and will be in Division II in the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League.
It was a tough season in 2009, was there an upside?
“Toward the end of the year, we ended up playing a lot of younger kids, and I thought we turned the corner late in the season with them figuring out what it takes on Friday night. We’re trying to carry that over. We’re trying to build our pool of players.”
Was it a difficult season, though?
“I think at one point in time, I said it was a humbling experience. I think it was that for me, the coaching staff and the kids. If you look back on it, it also causes us to buckle down and fix some issues and fight a little adversity. I’ve been doing this long enough that they haven’t all been good.
“We just didn’t get off to a real good start early. We played BV Northwest, which was one of the better 6A teams, we played Buhler, Wellington.”
Because you’re moving up from 4A to 5A this season and from AV-CTL Division III to Division II, your schedule will be different
“That’s one big point on our season that we’ll play seven teams that have never been on the field with us. Rose Hill and us have played so many times in the last eight years — we’ve played 10 times — you get to know a team really well and they get to know us.
“We play Goddard and Salina Central and McPherson (to open the season). Those games will be critical.”
Did you play BV Northwest the past two seasons to prepare to move up to 5A?
“We were wanting to get a larger opponent. But what it came down to is we got left without a game. It was strictly a scheduling deal. I thought it was good for us. I thought it was a good experience.”
Are you concerned about moving to 5A?
“We need to find more guys to help us on Friday night. We’d like to end up with 20 starters.
“We need more bodies, more people that can contribute on Friday night and start. A kid like Boston (Stiverson) is a good two-way player, but it’s tough for a kid who’s 295 pounds to play 48 minutes as hard as he can. We need reliable backups, to get kids off the field, coach them up, get them rested.
“(In 4A), you can get by without (platooning) because you have more people doing the same thing. The bigger the school, the bigger the pool of players. I think it puts you at a disadvantage if you’re playing with 12-13 guys. You’re going to go against some people that are platooning (full-time).”
How do you move to full platooning? Is it developing more players or having better numbers?
“Our numbers have been pretty good, and they have slowly increased. We’ll have 90-100 kids out for football. It’s not the issue. The number that can contribute on Friday night is the issue. Our summer intensity is about the same. Some of it is we have to get it across to the kids. We have some athletes, that if we change their work patterns or they realize they have an opportunity to play, I think we can build them into where they can help us on Friday night.
“(In the past, there might be a player) who would say, ‘I’m playing behind the Stiverson kid, I won’t play so why should I get ready?’ Maybe it’s changing the mentality, that you need to be ready to play on Friday night.”
Offensive tackle/defensive tackle Boston Stiverson is getting interest from colleges _ he has an offer from Northern Iowa — why is he getting looked at?
“He’s an athletic kid. He’ll be a four-year starter on the basketball team; he’s actually played more in basketball than he has in football. It shows that he has some athleticism. He’s a smart kid, he has good grades, so he’s going to be a qualifier, not an academic risk.
“æ.æ.æ. He’s going to be recruited as an offensive tackle. He’s a big physical athlete and he has a presence on the field. He’s a real smart kid, he’s a smart player. He knows his assignments. He plays with a pretty even keel. He keeps a level head, doesn’t get too excited, too down.”
Offensively, who do you return?
“We have four offensive lineman and our tight end coming back. I think that’s a pretty good start. I think there are several good players besides Boston — Jens Danielsen, Joe Washington, Corey Sharon, Matt Clements at tight end.
“Landon Huslig is back at quarterback. We rotated fullbacks — we had three (Aaron Hoy, Jeff Broadhead and Josh Miller)— and they are all back. I feel good about the core of the offense being experienced.
“I think we’ll have a chance to have a good running game. We’ll throw when it’s an advantage for us. I think we all try to say we have balance, but it’s always 60-40 (run).”
How about defensively?
“We actually have four guys on the defensive line that have started. These are going to be some of the same names. We’re starting more kids, some of these kids — the fullbacks will probably get split up — so the ones starting on defense will be backups on offense. At the end of the year, Hoy was starting at defensive end, Washington had experience starting at defensive end, and Boston and Cullen Nauck, at defensive end. At linebacker we have one returning starter, Matt Clements. In the secondary, we have one returning starter, Taylor Locke.”
Your team didn’t attend a team camp, why not?
“I don’t know. I’m getting probably closer to going. Most of the team camps are early in the summer, and as many shared athletes as we have æ.æ.æ. we need to get through baseball and state track at the end of the year, and go right into football. With our size (of school), I didn’t think it’s fair to the kids. And really, I’m a little different — I don’t want to take them to a team camp unless we’re prepared. But there area couple (colleges) talking about moving team camps to later in the summer.”
Your team is in a 7-on-7 league, but what do you do in the summer outside of football?
“I work on my golf game, three, four days a week.æ.æ.æ. I played with (Hutchinson) coach (Randy) Dreiling.æ.æ.æ. There are several coaches that are addicted. Dreiling, (Heights coach Rick) Wheeler. I play a lot with them. With Dreiling I plan on playing all day. It will be 36 holes, and Wheeler is right behind him.”