Football 2014: Augusta Orioles
The job description for Jason Filbeck’s first head football coaching position may not have included the exact words.
But at Augusta, where the Orioles have struggled to win since 2005, Filbeck’s duties are equal parts coach and salesman.
“I think they’re tired of losing,” said Filbeck, a 10-year assistant at Shawnee Mission East who was hired in February after Roger Robben resigned. “They’re hungry. My job is to teach them the difference from saying they want to win and showing them how.”
Augusta finished 2-7 last season, marking the sixth consecutive fall in which the Orioles failed to win at least three games. Victories over Circle and Trinity Academy were offset by a few competitive losses and lopsided defeats to established powers Mulvane, Andale and Collegiate.
Filbeck’s reclamation challenge is similar to what he experienced at SM East. The longtime, downtrodden Lancers won a school-record 11 games last season and reached their first state title game before falling to Derby in the Class 6A final.
“We tried to hit the pavement before we moved here,” Filbeck said. “We wanted to get kids who haven’t played since the eighth grade to come out.”
Filbeck appointed his returning players as foot soldiers, asking them to recruit friends to summer workouts as the 2013-14 school year ended.
“Everybody’s got a great attitude about the season,” senior wide receiver Connor Hurst said. “Coach Filbeck has a great way of motivating guys. All the guys really like him, especially with his new system.”
The Orioles will implement a spread bone offense, a formation designed to utilize speed in open spaces. Filbeck is also determined to play a two-platoon system, keeping players focused on specific assignments and fresh late in games.
“We’ve had times where we were up at halftime with kids playing on both sides of the ball,” Hurst said. “But you could see how tired and how flat we were in the third and fourth quarters.
“I think everybody is embracing the platoon system with open arms, because we know how beneficial it can be and how it will help us.”
Filbeck understands the challenge of platooning will be greater in Class 4A-Division I – the Orioles’ classification – than in 6A. But with his initial focus on getting the Orioles to consistently play hard, he believes fresh players can aid in that pursuit.
“As coaches, we’re just trying to simplify football for these kids as much as we can and get them in defined roles,” Filbeck said.
A LOOK AT AUGUSTA
Coach: Jason Filbeck, first season
League: AV-CTL Division III
Last season: 2-7
Last five seasons: 6-40
Projected 2014 playoff team? No
TOP SKILL PLAYERS
|Sept. 5||at Wellington|
|Sept. 12||El Dorado|
|Sept. 26||at Buhler|
|Oct. 10||at Rose Hill|
|Oct. 17||at Winfield|
|Oct. 31||at Independence|
Connor Hurst on his team
What Augusta does well: “We’ve got a bunch of skill-position kids back with a bunch of experience. We also have a bunch of speed on the outside, and that really fits in well with our new offense.”
What has to improve: “We need to improve on the hard-work part, making sure we make every play count and going hard on every down.”