Another year in the weight room has improved Trinity Academy junior halfback Tyler Burns.
But that isn’t the reason why coach Jared McDaniel is calling for a breakout season in the second go-around for his spread offense.
“He’s a lot better, but I think the difference will be up front for us,” McDaniel said. “We’re moving some kids around and I think we’re going to be a lot better up front, which will allow Tyler to be better.”
Trinity, long-time prey to the Central Plains League aristocracy of Garden Plain and Conway Springs, is another year closer to challenging in McDaniel’s eyes.
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Having a next-level athlete such as Burns alone makes the Knights a threat.
“He’s a game-changer for us,” McDaniel said. “One handoff, one pass to him and he can totally change the game.”
Trinity spreads the field not to pass, although junior quarterback Matt Jones is more than capable, but to widen the running lanes and stretch the defense out.
“When we get on a drive, (Tyler) doesn’t want to be stopped,” Jones said. “He doesn’t want to be shut down and he is going to find a way to get in the end zone. It’s awesome to watch.”
For the Burns Show to begin, though, Trinity has to be better on its line.
Senior Erik Hansen and Alex Ast solidify two of the positions, but the other three spots are filled by unproven talent. McDaniel is optimistic, but admits it is a legitimate question mark entering the season.
“I think we’re definitely going to be better than we were last year,” McDaniel said. “But that’s still our biggest area of improvement we need to make.”
The defense is progressing in McDaniel’s system and he expects the linebacker unit to be a strength with the leadership of Ast in the middle.
And he refused to name names before they played a down, but McDaniel said he was the beneficiary of several newcomers returning to the team after sitting out last season.
“That could be the difference for us right there,” McDaniel said. “But we just don’t know because they haven’t played a single down with pads on yet. We’re optimistic, but cautiously optimistic.”
TRINITY ACADEMY KNIGHTS
Coach: Jared McDaniel, second season, 4-5
League: Central Plains
Last season: 4-5
Last five seasons: 21-24
Projected 2013 playoff team? No
Top skill players
|at Belle Plaine||W,47-6|
|at Conway Springs||L,45-14|
|at Rose Hill||L,42-0|
|Sept. 6||Chaparral (at Augusta)|
|Sept. 13||Belle Plaine (at Circle)|
|Sept. 20||Cheney (at Circle)|
|Sept. 27||at Garden Plain|
|Oct. 4||Conway Springs|
|Oct. 11||at Douglass|
|Oct. 18||at Collegiate|
|Oct. 31||Rose Hill|
Matt Jones on his team
What Trinity does well: “I think we’re going to have a good edge on teams with speed. We’re definitely not the biggest team, but we can out-run them.”
What has to improve: “We all have to play as one unit when games get tough and it’s close in the fourth quarter. There are going to be times where we have to go down and score, so we’re going to have to come together because it’s all about team chemistry.”