Change is everywhere at Concordia Prep, the school formerly known as Baltimore Lutheran. The hiring of football coach Scott Merbach was only the first step.
There are new players, new assistant coaches and a new offensive alignment for team coming off a 1-9 record.
The Saints haven't had a winning record since 2010 — the last year they qualified for Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference playoffs.
"Nobody likes to lose, but we had to change the mentality," Merbach said. "And change is for the better. The kids have bought into it. The kids are committed and the energy level is exceeding my expectations. Hopefully, we can build on that and have a successful season."
Concordia will employ the same 4-4 defensive scheme as last year, but the former Kenwood and Our Lady of Mount Carmel assistant coach changed the offense from a spread to spread-wing.
"Our focus has been on the offense," Merbach said. "That's where everything is new. When I came in, I evaluated the talent and initiated the offense based on it."
Concordia's offense will be run by junior quarterback Brandt Garland (5 feet 7, 140 pounds), who served as backup last year.
"He is very smart," Merbach said. "His strength is his ability to read coverages and he understands our offense."
Junior wide receiver Joey Schildwachter (5-11, 190) and senior wide receiver Justin Torres (6-5, 207) will be his main targets.
The offense also features senior running back Josh Trueheart (5-10, 220) and sophomore slot backs Scott Merbach Jr. (5-8, 140) and Michael Trikiotosis (5-9, 185).
They will run behind an offensive line of seniors Nick Weinel (6-2, 240) and Matt Sazaklis (6-0, 250) and juniors Zack Barlow (5-11, 205) and Josh Franker (6-8, 215), and sophomores Aaron Stephens (6-3, 260) and Robert Walshe (5-10, 270).
"Our offensive line is our strength on offense," Merbach said. "They have a chance to be pretty good."
A potential strength of the defense will be Sazaklis and Franker on the line. Weinel, Trueheart and Barlow will lead the linebacking corps.
Schildwachter, Merbach, freshman William Needum (5-7, 145) and sophomore Derek Thomas (5-7, 135) comprise the secondary.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun