Will new be improved at Wood?

Will C. Wood has a new offense with Kirk Anderson employing the spread option.

Kirk Anderson has the utmost respect for all that Carlos Meraz achieved in nine years as Will C. Wood High School’s football coach. Respect apparently does not go that far these days, however, because Anderson has wasted no time in getting rid of Meraz’s pistol offense and buying new home uniforms.

Putting his stamp on the program does not mean as much to Anderson as devising an offense that suits his philosophy. That would be the spread option. The quarterback will have the option of handing off to the fullback, pitching to the halfback or carrying the ball himself. Whoever starts at quarterback could have as many rushing attempts as passing if all goes as planned for Anderson and the Wildcats this season.

“Stylistically, we’re polar opposites,” Anderson said of Meraz. “Carlos did a lot of good fundamental things. I have my own ideas and thoughts. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but we’re making a lot of progress.”

In 2016, junior Carson Strong had 266 passing attempts and Wood had 279 rushing plays. All those attempts led to Strong throwing for 2,732 yards and 26 touchdowns. Strong missed his senior season with a knee injury and is now in competition to be the starter for the University of Nevada as a redshirt freshman.  

Meraz used three quarterbacks in 2017 with Strong sidelined, and they combined to pass for 676 yards and four touchdowns. Jhalen Grayer was one of the three as a junior. He returned in 2018 to throw for 2,081 yards and 18 touchdowns. There is little chance of the 2019 quarterback coming close to those numbers.

And that is just fine with Anderson, who joined Meraz’s staff in 2018 after being hired as a physical education teacher. Anderson was no stranger to the Monticello Empire League after spending three years as an assistant at Napa. He resigned at Napa in 2017 as the football program was investigated for hazing.

Troy Mott resigned as Napa’s head coaching in March 2017 after being informed he could not hire assistants without the school’s approval. Mott’s assistants at the time were informed they would have to reapply to stay. Anderson opted not to do so and jumped to American Canyon in 2017 as an assistant.

Mott praised Anderson when asked if the Wildcats will be in good hands with their new coach. “He’s very good at teaching the game to his players. He believes fundamentals are important along with effort and a belief in what you’re doing can win games,” Mott wrote in a text message. “He really is the total package as a coach and he will grow nicely into the role of ‘CEO’ as he gains more experience.”

Anderson will make his debut Aug. 23 when Wood travels to Vintage. The home opener is Aug. 30 against Clovis East. Instead of wearing blue jerseys at home, the Wildcats will have new gray jerseys and gray pants. The white helmets remain as do the white jerseys for road games, but the Wildcats will have the option of wearing blue or white pants when they travel. The blue pants could also go with the gray jerseys at home.

Wood will host the Black and Blue Bowl against Vacaville in Wildcat Stadium for the first time on Nov. 1.

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