WINNEBAGO - Mark Helm has been the Indians head coach for the past ten years. He's had some explosive offensives. His top concern this year is ratcheting up the defense.
"Better defense. That's been our number one goal in the offseason," says Helm. "We averaged 34 points a game last year. The problem is we gave up 33."
The Indians gave up more points than any other team in the Big Northern Conference last year. Helm is seeking improvement by simplification.
"I think anytime you struggle it's something you've got to go back and say is it too much for the kids to handle? Whether it is or not that's what we're going to do and we're just going to rep it more and more and more until I feel we're competent."
"Most of our points given up came from deep balls downfield and mishaps and miscommunication," says returning defensive back Kenzell Jones. "So coach has really took the time to dumb the defense down. Make it simple to where we can maneuver. Everyone can get it."
Bago will still have plenty of firepower on offense especially with Jones who will again be one of the top playmakers in the conference. He'll be used in multiple roles on offense in the backfield and at receiver.
"Wherever I'm needed is where I go," says Jones.
Other running back candidates include Grant Watson, Jared Roberts, Garrett Buckner, and Caden Hawkins.
Bryce Bryden returns at quarterback. He saw extensive action last year when last year's starter Jess Smith went down with an injury. That injury was a blow at the time but Bryden more than showed he was capable of doing the job.
"I feel like it gave me a lot of valuable material to work with. That way I can get better and continue to help this football club win games," says Bryden.
"The big thing too is some some of the opponents he got to see last year the Byrons...he got the postseason game down in Farmington, Oregon, people like that.," says Helm.
Bago's linemen aren't big this year but Helm says it's a good group.
"I've got a couple guys there from last year that have stepped up even as sophomores that got some time."
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