For the second straight fall, Kenwood’s football coaching staff will look different.
But for the first time in more than three years, the offense may not function the same.
The graduation of Maleek Hall and Michael Sutherland as well as the departure of Sam Lipsey has Kenwood’s backfield facing a major overhaul. If not for the return of talented quarterback Malcolm Perry, the entire Knights backfield would look a lot like new coach Brian Beaubien and his staff — brand new.
“It’s going to be a bit different,” Beaubien said. “I don’t think that’s unfair to say. We lost a lot, but I’m excited about what we have and the potential this team has. We have some young kids that are talented that were playing primarily JV last year because Kenwood had such a great backfield with Maleek and Michael and Sam. Now those kids will get an opportunity to show their talent.”
Perry could shoulder a heavy load this season, carrying the offense but Beaubien isn’t sold on his junior signal caller having to do that.
“We’re certainly going to build the team around Malcolm,” Beaubien said.
“But kids like Angel Hall, A.J. Richardson and Rikeece Covington have talent that should help in softening the blow of losing all of those 1,000-yard rushers.”
Hall, Sutherland and Lipsey have all ran for 1,000 yards in the past two years at Kenwood. The Knights were never a team that struggled to score points but this fall that point production could decrease.
Complicating matters is the reality that Beaubien has just finished completing his coaching staff and Monday’s practice session will be the first time all summer that the entire staff is on the field together.
“It’s been a slow process in finding the right coaches, getting them into the school system and approved and then the coaches having things like in-service,” Beaubien said. “So we’ve had a different collection of coaches for much of our practices. We’d have a few one day and a few the next.”
That setback has forced the new Kenwood coach to refrain from implementing his entire offense this season. Beaubien said he would work in more plays next spring but that he wanted to keep this fall as simple as possible. Time on the field with a complete coaching staff has been rare and overwhelming his players with an entire playbook would backfire.
“We’re still trying to get guys in the right position,” Beaubien said. “Everybody wants to be a running back. It’s our job, as coaches, to find what they do well and put them in a position where they can succeed and help us win.”
Kenwood scrimmaged Goodpasture Friday night and will open the season against Independence, a team with three Southeastern Conference commits, according to Beaubien. “Despite some of the setbacks we’ve had a good week of practice,” he said. “I have to say that I’ve never seen weather this nice in July and August in all of my years of coaching. I’m afraid that it’s been so nice that when Week 0 starts in a few weeks, that our first game will be 97 or 98 degrees and then we’re not used to the heat. Of course every team will be in the same boat but we’ve really lucked out on the weather so far.”