Posted: 1:56 pm Friday, September 2nd, 2011

For Olympic Heights, changing coaches and offensive schemes will take time, patience 

By Jeff Greer

It was a scary number for Olympic Heights fans: A zero on the scoreboard at the end of the Lions’ 19-0 kickoff classic loss to West Boca.

But new O-Heights coach Travis Johnson isn’t worried — it’s all part of the larger plan.

Under former coach Mitch Henghold, Olympic Heights ran an efficient wing-T offense, which produced the second-most rushing yards in the area in 2010. After Henghold left in the offseason, Johnson came in and changed the entire offensive system to a pistol spread. Park Vista has made the same change, but the Cobras still have the same coaching staff in place.

In other words, there were a lot of moving parts this offseason at O-Heights. The changeover takes time.

The process of changing systems is painful. Coaches have to literally unteach their players and retool them for the new offense. Quarterbacks who were previously taught to read run defenses and navigate blocking channels are forced to learn passing progressions and secondary schemes.

So even though his team didn’t score a point in its kickoff classic, Johnson said the game fits into the longer-term plan of having his offense ready for the Lions’ first district game against Palm Beach Lakes on Sept. 23. They’ll use the season opener against Lake Worth and the following nondistrict games against Suncoast and Spanish River as learning experiences.

“It looks a lot different from Week 1 to Week 5 and Week 5 to Week 10,” Johnson said. “We’re completely changing skill sets for kids who’ve learned a specific way to play football. It takes time to undo that and build up a new knowledge.”

Johnson said his quickest learner has been Matt Kelly, who returned as quarterback for the Lions.

“He’s one of those kids who’s making the evolution,” Johnson said. “This new offense allows a kid like that to make plays.”

Ultimately the big plays will come, he said. It’s just a matter of time.