Photo By Wes Turner - # 15 Luis Gomez
Written By: Sven Alskog
Building a culture is never an easy task when taking over a football program. For new Burley head coach Dylan Corless, that challenge has already made some strong progress after two years under previous coach Tony Cade, who is now at Ontario (OR).
Corless is no stranger to the Bobcats, having served as the defensive coordinator for Cade.
One of the benefits of hiring from within the program is the familiarity between the coach and the players, with team chemistry and a cohesive coaching staff a couple of the major strengths of this group according to the new head coach.
Lefty quarterback Ethan Gibbons is one of the many reasons why optimism for continued improvement should stay high at Burley this year. Last season Gibbons continued to grow as a team leader and should be an All-Conference type producer this time around.
The Bobcats will have to replace running backs Rylee Stevens and Beau Phipps and a few other pieces on the offensive side of the ball, however offensive lineman Franklin Tilley and wide receiver Luis Gomez return to give the new coach both a nice interior presence and a quality outside threat, respectively.
Some of the keys to success on the offensive side of the ball are simple.
“Ball control, fewer turnovers and scoring consistently,” said Corless.
For Burley to take the next step and have a winning record for the first time since 2013, the defense will have to continue to show growth after a year where multiple positive steps in the right direction were displayed.
Gomez and Tate Garrard are two of the returning standouts on that side of the ball from the safety position, teaming with Tilley at his linebacker spot to keep some continuity for the Bobcats.
“We need to generate more turnovers and have more third down consistency,” said Corless.
Defensive end Kody Condie will be missed within the program though.
“Best overall lineman. Made a tremendous impact when he was on the field,” added Corless.
Judson Mathis is an incoming piece to watch for on both lines, with McCray Mort and Jake Bracken expected to step into skill position roles.
Burley heads to the road for a date with Jerome in week one before heading back home to take on Buhl in week two. A strong start in those two games will be important considering the next five opponents on the schedule made trips to the playoffs a year ago at their respective classifications.