After what he terms a successful spring and summer, new Davis High football coach John Wiley took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to chat about where his Blue Devils are — and where they’re going.
“I thought things went really well. Lots of kids, lots of support,” Wiley said about his off-season conditioning program, summer camps and spring workouts — although turnout is such that the former Christian Brothers defensive coordinator has only 35 varsity candidates, 25 junior varsity hopefuls and no freshman team.
“I am hopeful,” said Wiley, anticipating a few new athletes when camp opens on Aug. 11.
“There’s a lot of kids (at Davis High) that play multiple sports, which is fine — I’m OK with that because when do you get another chance at being a kid (trying all sports)?”
Named to his post in January, Wiley will open training camp to prepare for one of the school’s most daunting schedules in history.
Under interim coach Marc Hicks in 2013, the Blue Devils completed their second consecutive 5-5 season.
But the Delta Valley Conference and the nonleague schedule took a turn for the stars …
Sheldon, Jesuit and Pleasant Grove enter the DVC. Mix in old friends Elk Grove, Grant, Franklin and Monterey Trail and the eight-school league features five DHS opponents who made the playoffs last year.
After the Devils open Sept. 5 at home with River Valley (Yuba City), the preseason continues with Vintage (home Sept. 12) and at Edison (Stockton) on Sept. 19. RVHS and Edison also were playoff teams.
Only one of Davis’ 10 foes, Sheldon, had a losing season last fall. The combined 2013 record of those schools? 77-42.
“My goal is to never shy away,” Wiley believes. “We understand we’re in a very difficult league. Great… That’s where we want to be, because in order for our Davis program to be where we want it to be, we want to play the best.
“I know it’s cliché, but it is one game at a time. Our focus when (camp opens) is River Valley. Once we get past that game, we focus on our next opponent.”
Wiley, who left Christian Brothers, where he taught and was assistant athletic director, has taken a position as a Xerox account executive. He’s delighted with the move because his territory includes Davis.
“I’m excited. I get to connect with the community (outside of football),” he explains. “I’m excited about going to Chamber of Commerce meetings and doing other kinds of things within the community.”
Back to football: The new coach kept old Blue Devil assistants while adding some familiar local names. Former DHS players Bob Ghazanfari (offensive coordinator) and Jason Fisk (defensive line) will join running backs coach Marty Morse and tight ends specialist John Griffiths as the new guys on the staff.
Returning are defensive back and defensive coordinator Ty Brown, Yigie Ge as offensive guru and strength-and-conditioning mentor and linebacker coach Joe Carnazzo.
Wiley says it’s too early to talk specifically about position players. But he did share some of his offensive plans …
“I don’t know exactly how to describe it,” the coach told The Enterprise. “There’s West Coast, there’s spread. … For us, the best way to describe it is we have a winning offense.
“It’s a hybrid of different kinds … and the intent is that, in the future, we don’t have to change the offense. A lot of coaches get so much involved in their schemes that they’re trying to make those schemes fit their kids.”
Wiley says his talent will dictate what happens:
“If we have a kid who’s great at passing, why not be a spread offense? If we have great running back, then why not a running offense? We’re trying to tailor our style — on both sides of the ball — to fit what our kids do best.”
“I know one thing,” says the former Chicago Bear by way of an all-SEC career at Auburn. “We’ll be in great shape come Aug. 11.”
Notes: Blue Devil players and their parents are asked to attend a meeting Sunday, Aug. 10 (6 p.m. in the DHS Library), to review the upcoming training camp, scrimmage dates on Aug. 23 (Folsom) and home with Sacramento (Aug. 28) and answer any logistics questions. “If new kids want to get involved with football, they and their parents are welcome to attend,” Wiley says. … From the Junior Blue Devils Dept.: Registration is being taken through Aug. 10, according to DJBD President Scott Carrell. Visit www.juniorbluedevils.com for additional information and registration forms.