Brown hopes new approach can be uplifting for Huntington Beach
HUNTINGTON BEACH - New Huntington Beach football coach Brett Brown wants his team to do one thing this year: W.I.N.
W.I.N, which stands for work hard, integrity and no excuses, is on the back of t-shirts, the rallying cry used to break practice and the motto Brown believes can set the tone for Huntington Beach’s first winning season in three years.
“(It’s) what everyone should stand for in life and on the field,” Brown said. “If we do those things, we will win on Friday nights.”
Brown is replacing Eric Lo, who spent nine years as coachs of the Oilers, leading them to a CIF-SS title in 2013 and a 54-48 record overall. Lo stepped down in January to spend more time with his family.
Brown, who played at Marina and coached at Ocean View, served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Lo, joining Lo when he was brought to Huntington Beach 10 years ago.
The Oilers offense remains under Brown’s control, and he says it will be similar to last year’s, but they will have a new quarterback, junior Nick Welch. Welch, who played strong safety last season on varsity and spent some time at quarterback on junior varsity, used the team's seven-on-seven competitions during the summer to adjust to the higher level.
“It’s a lot faster,” Welch said. “It (passing league) helps a lot with learning to read coverages.”
Welch considers himself a mobile quarterback, and he was frustrated at times by not being allowed to run during passing league games.
“He does move well; he’s a pretty athletic kid,” Brown said.
However, Brown added, not being allowed to try for a first down with his legs can force a quarterback to develop in other areas.
“It’s good for timing, it’s good for chemistry with your receivers and it’s good to see defenses out there and try to fit the ball into windows,” Brown said.
Returning to the playoffs, which the Oilers last did in 2013, is one of the team's goals this season.
“Once we make the playoffs, anything is possible,” said Brown, citing the 5-5 record the Oilers had in 2013 when they entered the playoffs.
PLAN OF ATTACK
While the defensive coordinator Diego Segura was kept in the program through the coaching change, it will not be business as usual up front for the Oilers this season.
Segura met with Brown after he was promoted and they both wanted to establish a more attacking defense.
“I wanted to be a little more aggressive,” Brown said. “Let’s go after people. I don’t want to sit back; I want to set the tempo. We are an attacking-style offense, why not do that on defense?”
This defensive shift follows a season that saw the Oilers give up 31 points per-game in the Sunset League last season.
“We are doing more moving around on the d-line,” said senior noseguard Jonah Apelu.
After graduating their leading receiver last season, the Oilers and their new quarterback will rely this season on a pair of lanky, 6-foot-3 receivers - Jake Adams and Jeremiah Flannagan.
Adams was on varsity last season and caught two touchdown passes that were 50-plus yards. He has big-play potential despite playing in the slot.
“It gives us an advantage in the end zone,” Adams said of his and Flannagan’s height.
Flanagan didn’t play much on varsity last season as a freshman, but he is getting first-team reps on the outside.
“That is our strength,” he said. “We are speedy and tall.”