A coaching change gives the Twin Lakes football program a different look.
Former Carroll coach Kevin Sayler takes over for Hall of Famer Scott Mannering and has replaced the Wing-T ground attack with a spread offense. During his three years at Carroll, Sayler’s teams averaged 27.5 points per game.
“The kids have picked it up really well so far,” Sayler said. “We’ve done a lot of scheme change on offense and defensively made some adjustments from what they have been doing in the past.”
But being a spread-offense coach doesn’t mean an Indians quarterback will put up video game numbers.
“Offensively, we try to do some different things with the passing game. We are going to take what the defense gives us,” Sayler said. “We are going to throw it when we need to throw it. We have a rule for our quarterbacks that if they can get five yards then take it as we have some routes that are just as good as a run.”
Twin Lakes senior Gage Businger, an All-Hoosier Conference selection a year ago, explained this offense gives more players the chance to shine.
“The main difference between this year and last year is the amount of options we have,” Businger said. “I think the team’s athleticism will be showcased as most of the plays get our weapons out in space.
“The more we practice the better we will execute come Friday nights which should lead to big numbers on the field.”
The offensive unit got off to a solid start in a scrimmage against Logansport.
“I was pretty happy with some things we did in the scrimmage. We still have some things that we need to fix, but as a whole, I’m pretty happy with where we are,” Sayler said. “I’m pleasantly surprised how our personnel fits what we are trying to do. I think we have some guys out that didn’t play last year that are helping us.”
The addition of Noah Johnston, Kahari Jackson and Dailan Reece are great skill position pickups, according to Sayler. He is also impressed with senior quarterback Lewis Dellinger’s ability to be a leader on the field.
“It’s his job to get the football in the hands of the guys that need to make plays,” Sayler noted. “He has done a tremendous job of picking up the playbook and learning everyone’s job and being a distributer. I put a lot on him, but as far as football knowledge goes, he’s been really, really sharp and picked up things better than I could have expected for us at this point.”
Dellinger is excited to play in the new offense.
“It’s a much newer and faster style of football, which is a huge change from what we were, but I believe we have adapted really well,” he said. “I think that with the guys we have on the team, a spread offense is perfect for us,” Dellinger said. “From what we’ve seen, our line is great at both pass blocking and run blocking which is going to be the most important part of the year.
“Along with that, all of our skill position players can make big plays. I believe we will be a big threat to teams no matter where we go with the ball.”
The Indians will feature a three-head monster at running back with Jaylen Roush, Kayvion Jackson and Saige Brandt doing most of the heavy lifting. Businger will see time at every receiver position, and will combine with Caden Harker, Johnston and others to provide targets for Dellinger.
Sayler believes his secondary and defensive lines will be the strengths of the defensive unit.
“Our secondary has been tremendous with Gage, Dailan, Lewis, Caden and Ean Bowsman. Those guys have played well,” Sayler said. “The defensive line has been our strength with Derek Overmyer, Roush and Kayvion really causing some problems for Logansport last week. We have a speed unit out there. … We aren’t huge, but we are going to use that speed to our advantage.”