WELLSBURG - Sean Blumette surveyed the field, stopping every so often to offer a pointer or talk to a player.
As the summer approaches, Blumette, the Brooke coach, feels his days are numbered.
On the football field, they are.
Photos by DAVE MORRISON
Brooke breaks the huddle before going onto another drill at practice Friday in Wellsburg.
Oak Glen coach Ian Whittington has a few final words for his team before practice concludes.
Blumette, 37, recently resigned his position as football coach to take an administrative job at Brooke.
"Did I see myself eventually making this move?'' Blumette asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yes. Did I see it happening this quickly after I've been here two years (as a teacher/football coach)? No, not at all. But I've always believed that when you get an opportunity, you have to take it. And it is a great opportunity."
Blumette is currently helping serve as a buffer between his regime, which offiially ends July 1, when he starts his new post as an assistant principal at the school, and the summer practice session, which ends July 2.
"I have to give these coaches a lot of credit for stepping up and taking the bull by the horns," Blumette said of his staff. "They've made things run smoothly. They are taking care of the details, I'm just here to offer a hand."
Brooke is coming off a 3-7 season, playing one of the toughest schedules in the state.
The good news is, the Bruins return a ton of talent.
The pitch-and-catch tandem of senior quarterback Aaron Walker and big target Thomas Cole, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound junior, could be one of the best in the area this fall.
"Aaron and Thomas have a chance to be be very productive," Blumette said. "A lot of it is going to depend on who the coach is, and what they want to do. But we had talks (in the offseason) and we talked about how we could best expand the offense and those two guys were a big part of the discussion."
It was easy to see why is skeleton drills Friday morning, as Cole posed an imposing figure running pass routes.
Walker? He can both run and throw the football, with two games last year where he rushed and passed for more than 100 yards.
He apparently added some velocity on his throws, once jarring the mouthpiece from a teammate's mouth from the force of the delivery.
Justin Loughrie returns in the backfield after a sophomore season where he split time with the recently graduated Nick Ossman.
"There are some pieces in place where I think we can have a good offense, and a good defense," Blumette said.
Brooke has added Indian Creek (the season opener), plus a five-hour bus trip to Logan on Oct. 3 to replace Allderdice, Pa., and Point Pleasant on the schedule.
Blumette said part of his new duties could include game management.
"I told them for the first game they might want to put me on parking lot duty, all the way on the other side of the building," he said. "I just don't think I could take being too close to the field for the first one."
There is a new attidtude at Oak Glen.
Coach Ian Whittington said the past is gone, and he and his coaching staff are implementing a new discipline and a new attitude after last year's 0-10 season, which included the coach being suspended after some fracases broke out during the Golden Bears' game with rival Weir.
"I prefer leaving the past in the past, and move on," Whittington said. "Everything starts at the top, it starts with the coach. While I won't dwell on it, I won't forget about it. We want to teach our kids accountability, accepting accountability. That's what you have to do."
The evidence was obvious during a high-energy, enthusiastic Friday morning pratice that belied a team coming off a winless campaign.
"We are going to earn everything we get," Whittington said. "Nobody is going to expect anything from us, after last season. If we win football games this fall, it will be because we earned it by what we do in the offseason (summer practice), in the weight room and in games. We will earn everything we get. We will earn respect, we will earn the plays on the field."
There are capable pieces among the 38 players out for the team, 17 of which are lettermen.
The most notable returnee is quarterback Chase Hartley, who missed all but one half of football last year after sustaining a broken leg in the season opener against Edison. He returned for two plays in the season-finale against Class A semifinalist Magnolia, throwing a touchdown pass.
"He's going to fly under the radar because he missed last season," Whittington said. "But he had a great sophomore season and I really am expecting big things from him."
The Golden Bears also return their only All-OVAC performer from a year ago, junior Alec Swiger, as well as sophomore defensive end Dakota Price, who had 12 sacks last fall.
Oak Glen will attend the Pitt 7-on-7 team camp, which was recently rated the seventh toughest of its kind in the nation.