MARLOW, Okla (KSWO) - For the last three years Braeden O'Dell gave Marlow fans a lot to cheer about, and opposing coaches fits. His departure leaves a big hole in the starting line-up, but it also opens up an opportunity for some of the other Outlaws to step up and become household names.
"Can you replace a Braeden O'Dell? No you can't, but the team we have this year, everything works," said senior lineman Seth Young. "We all work together really well. I think that more than anything is going to overcome a few really, really good players that we lost last year."
"Well it's kind of the theory of the next man up," Marlow coach Rob Renshaw said. "You know Will Coffman got a bunch of reps and a couple of starts last year at quarterback. So we don't feel like we're having to replace him with a guy that's never done anything. He played in four or five ballgames at quarterback for us."
That playing time will be extremely valuable this year for Coffman as he takes over as the starting quarterback full-time. He may not have the game-breaking athleticism that O'Dell possessed, but he brings his own strengths to the table.
"Will may not be as fast as O'Dell, but Will definitely has the smarts and he's got an arm on him and I think that overcomes a lot," Young said. "We have someone handling the ball so much that is that smart and that really helps out a lot."
"I think he just gives us the ability to throw the ball a little more. Will's very accurate. He's got a stronger arm. He knows where he's going and understands the defensive part of it, what defenses are trying to do. The passing game has really opened up our running game so far," said Renshaw.
Speaking of that running game, the Outlaws have a pair of experienced running backs that lookay to be even better this year.
"Brandon Green and Wyatt Bergner both saw a lot of time last year and boy they've done a great job so far for us," Renshaw said. "They're both very tough to tackle. They're different style of runners, but equally hard to bring down."
Clearing the way for those ball carriers will be an offensive line that only returns two starters, but has a number of capable players ready to make an impact.
"We have myself and Colton Renfro coming back and then we also have Brock Harris, which he was hurt last year with a shoulder injury. So he's coming back and he's the most technical player I think we have on the whole team," said Young. "We have Austin Ball and Trevor Hornberger coming in so I think they're really going to help us out. I think we'll be ok."
Defensively is where the Outlaws might miss O'Dell's presence most. He was a three-year starter in the secondary. However, Coach Renshaw believes this might one of the faster defenses he's had.
"We're not great big, but everybody that we put out there is going to be a sub-five forty and that includes our linemen," he said. "We're going to be particularly fast and what we've got to do is, we've got to get there in a bad mood when we find the football."
Marlow will kick the season off in Week 0 with a home game against perennial power Kingfisher.