Where does a coach start when taking over a team without a win in its previous two seasons?
York Tech head football coach Matt Glennon starts by building a culture based on fundamentally sound football and competing on every snap.
At York-Adams League Football Media Day on Thursday, Glennon detailed his team’s philosophy headed into the 2019 season, which begins on Friday, Aug. 23.
“We try not to talk about wins and losses,” Glennon said. “It’s the elephant in the room, it’s now been two seasons without a win. We’re focused on individual progress first.”
Welcome back: Glennon knew what he signed up for when he took the gig. He spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons as the Spartans’ head coach before resigning for personal reasons. He compiled a 4-16 record.
With those personal reasons resolved, according to Glennon, a return to York Tech made perfect sense once the job opened up. The second time around, his priorities are less about the X’s and O’s and more coaching the kids running the plays.
“Just focus on the kids more,” Glennon said. “In the past I was really focused on the schematic stuff, now I am focused on the kids and relationships and making sure we’re not overworking the kids.”
A new offense: As part of his plan to allow the players to improve, Glennon said the team will transition from a spread offense to one based on running the ball. That task is made more difficult because running back D.K. Wyche, who ran for 926 yards as a sophomore in 2018, transferred to York Catholic.
Glennon said he wished Wyche the best and that the summer workouts showed progress for the future.
“The kids who have been around this summer have worked tremendously hard,” Glennon said. “They have picked up the offense better than I thought they would, so we’re excited to put pads on and see how it looks full contact.”
The player in charge of running that offense is rising senior quarterback Ryan Gibson. The Spartans’ signal caller echoed his coach’s philosophy of bonding on and off the field as the key to improving the team’s recent results.
“As a team, we’re trying to get closer together, have good chemistry together and work as hard as we can,” Gibson said.
Gibson added that he left last season in the past and is focused on doing whatever he can to make this year a better one.
Focused on the future: Trusting their process is something that Glennon constantly keeps on the minds of his players. They end every meeting with the message, and it’s one he said the players have bought into.
“We focus on being together,” Glennon said. “Our theme this summer is — we’re going to find a way together. Whether it be find a way to get to practice (or) find a way to win a game, we want to do things together.”
For rising senior lineman Luis Ortiz, the idea of being the group that sparks the change at York Tech is exciting. Although he wants to win during his time with the Spartans, creating a new culture will have a bigger impact.
“It’s a fun process, it’s just not going to be a quick process,” Ortiz said. “I would rather help younger kids, so that when they come up next season they can have more of a chance to win.”
While Glennon and the Spartans know they have an uphill battle to turn around their program, they are inspired by having a new plan of attack.
The goal is to have their first winning season since 2009, but before that, their sights are set on winning each play in practice and building up from there.
“We’re not focused on the end goal at this point, we’re focused on the steps to get there,” Glennon said. “Every day we’re going to focus on something small. If you build on the small things, eventually we’ll get to bigger things.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.