MIDWEST CITY — Carl Albert coach Gary Rose doesn't try to hide his game plan. The Titans are going to run the ball. And if you don't stop it, they'll run some more.
“If they stop that, hopefully we can throw it. But we're going to run it first,” said Rose, who led one of the top turnarounds in state football history last season, taking a team that started 1-5 to the Class 5A state title.
Quarterback Stevie Thompson is at the heart of the Titans' offensive plans. The Oklahoman's All-State quarterback selection last season, Thompson was a workhorse, averaging about 30 carries per game as Carl Albert won its final eight games.
Thompson rushed for 1,926 yards and 36 touchdowns on 289 carries, while throwing for 1,395 yards with seven touchdowns.
With receiving options like 6-foot-6 tight end Trenton Ball and athletic wideout Dillon Lohr, the Titans will likely look to throw a little more regularly this season.
But they're also shifting 230-pound former tight end Chantz Woodberry to running back, providing a power option alongside the more elusive Thompson.
“Our skill players are a lot better and they're getting the system down real easy,” Thompson said. “I think those guys give us a chance to have a big year from a lot of different people.”
Two of the five offensive linemen return in Robert Lolofie and Anthony Woods.
The defensive line also has some gaps to fill, but Rose is excited about what he has seen. He used several players in that group last year, so even the new guys have experience.
Nate Christmon returns at linebacker after a strong sophomore year, and Thompson and Lohr both come back at cornerback spots. Rose is still looking for players to step up and take the other three defensive back spots in his 4-2-5 defense, but feels comfortable with the unit as a whole.
“We've got the potential to be really good,” Rose said. “We've just got to keep getting better.”