Eagle Pride, dominate the fourth and believe are some of the new sayings for Clarion football under new head coach Chris Weibel.
Weibel inherits a Golden Eagle team that has not had a winning record since 2009 and an overall record of 38-61 since 2007.
The goal for the 2015 season is an obvious one, to reach a .500 record.
The first step in doing so is to recruit players that fit the “Eagle Pride” moniker.
Clarion has amassed 27 total new recruits for the 2015 season, 19 of which officially signed on National Signing Day a few weeks ago.
If all goes to plan, Weibel hopes to redshirt, or at least limit playing time to the freshmen, in hopes to ease them into college football and develop them more successfully.
However, a little competition to the upperclassmen never hurts.
Moreover, with a senior-laded team that means the Golden Eagles need to produce, however, Weibel will not shy away from giving the underclassmen a chance to push the rest of the team.
With such an experienced team, Weibel hopes to think outside the box.
“On offense, the game has evolved. The speed is a lot more improved… we have got to throw the ball to win and go fast-paced. We have got to be innovative and spread the field out and run empty sets and go no huddle and even run a few trick plays and make teams prepare for us.”
Weibel is still unsure of his quarterback situation.
Last year, sophomores Connor Simmons and Darelle Carson split time with neither fully proving that they deserved the starter role.
According to Weibel, the starter position is an open race with Simmons, Carson or any of the other quarterbacks in the mix for an open competition during spring season.
Weibel, who was a former quarterback himself and quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator over the past 11 years at Clarion, will look to give his input on play-calling, but will defer the duties to his offensive and defensive coordinators, who have yet to be hired.
The defense will be called upon to help Clarion “dominate the fourth” and set the tone.
The Golden Eagles lost a soon-to-be NFL player in Julian Howsare, but Clarion is experienced on this side of the ball with the progression of junior Kwame Bell and a fully-healthy Malik King and the emergence of junior Cory McNamara and sophomore Adam Lynch in the defensive backfield.
“We’re not going to change much on the defensive end,” said Weibel. “We’re going to say in our 4-3, 4-2-5, but we’re going to make it look different. Something like, instead of our nose guard in a stance, he might be standing up… we got the guys to do it and be good.”
“I want my players to experience what I experienced here- the experience I had here with the playoff run and the championship team and all the excitement. It’s something that a lot of people don’t get to experience… I want my guys to be able to tell their kids about their time here and get chills like I do when I talk about my time here,” Weibel said.
Sometimes all you need is a little faith, which is the last of the mantra for the Golden Eagles: “Believe.”
Weibel believes in this team and said he hopes the community and the school does the same.