FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Jenks defense pursues faster start in 2020
Going into the 2019 season, Jenks’ defense had a new leader and many new faces, so it took a while for chemistry to take place.
By the end of the season, the defense was playing at a high level and helped get the Trojans back to the state championship game.
This year, as defensive coordinator Adam Gaylor enters his second year with Jenks and many of the defensive starters returning, the expectation is high for the 2020 version of the Trojan defense.
“We are ahead of where we were last year,” Gaylor said. “There is no doubt about that. Last year, coming in with a tweaked defense, it was later in the year before we got our feet underneath us. We had nine guys, who were new starters last year. Playing against good people, especially early on helped us.”
Through the first four games last year, Jenks was 1-3, but Gaylor said he and the other coaches kept saying if they could weather the storm, they would come out better on the other side.
“It’s a testament to my coaches on the defensive staff and Coach Riggs’ leadership for how we were playing at the end of the year,” Gaylor said. “It’s a different ball game this year. We look faster. I can’t compare times from last year to this year, but just watching us on the field, we are very fast. We have some guys that were on the defensive side of the ball last year, who are going to play offense as well this year. We have great team speed this year. The guys are bigger, faster and stronger.”
Gaylor said even though his defense is starting ahead of where they were a year ago, he wants to see similar improvement as they had in 2019.
“We have got to make sure we are accountable to each other,” Gaylor said. “With our guys, a lot of them have been through the war so to speak. We have been through a lot of football games, so it’s just making sure with practice and in everything we do, we keep each other accountable. The 2020 Jenks Trojans haven’t done anything yet. We need to make sure we have an edge about us.”
Gaylor said after coaching on both sides of the state, there is a different style of football that is played on the east side.
“East side schools with us, Broken Arrow, Union, Owasso, Bixby, you see a little more heavier groupings and power run game,” Gaylor said. “You see that more than you do on the west side. I have no idea why that is, but that is what I have seen. No matter what offense you run, everyone still wants to run the football. There are just different styles to it and over here, there is more power run game than on the west side. Offenses, overall, still understand that if you want to win championships, you need to run the football.”
Gaylor said going against the Jenks offense every day in practice is the best preparation there is.
“Coach Calabrese gets us ready to go,” Gaylor said. “We see about every grouping, every formation known to man. Our offense prepares us to face anything we will see during the year. Iron sharpens iron.”