Cody Bull leads Marshfield into unchartered waters in 2018 after a 2-8 inaugural season at the helm. The Blue Jays join the new-look Big 8 East Division after the dissolving of the COC-Small.
Now, Mount Vernon, Aurora, Monett, and McDonald County are among the teams that will become familiar opponents.
“We’re making sure the kids treat every week like the biggest opponent because any one of those guys can beat anybody,” said Bull.
Marshfield returns 12 starters and 16 seniors from last fall. Bull has been impressed with how much smoother the summer has gone overall. Plays could be called at the line during the Blue Jays’ 7-on-7 appearance without constant glancing at the playbook.
Bull hopes that will improve an offense that put up more than 14 points just twice last season.
“Our kids have a lot of recall of the system. Even the new things we’re adding, they’re picking it up a lot quicker because they’re more familiar with terminology.”
A senior quarterback can help that cause, and Brock Utecht is just that as he enters his third year as a starter. He compiled 1,015 total yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season in Bull’s system.
Trenton Kanengieter returns as the lone All-COC First Team selection at fullback. The 6’1”, 240-pound senior racked up 279 yards and four scores in 2017.
Brennan and Brooks Espy, twin juniors, should expect to play big roles at receiver and in the secondary as two of the fastest players at Marshfield. Senior Austin Porter carries the most experience of the unit coming off a 245-yard, five-touchdown campaign.
All-COC senior Keegan O’Dell will lead the effort in the trenches after registering 84 tackles, two sacks, and a trio of fumble recoveries. He will be flanked by fellow seniors Tristen Burton and Grayson Foster, a group that has played a hand in a rejuvenated weight room this offseason.
Bull is eager to see how this improved strength will play out on Fridays.
“We’ve got 30 guys that can power clean over 225 pounds,” he said. “Two guys can do over 315. We are getting a lot stronger. The way we do things in there spill out.”
Senior Wyatt Wilsey returns at linebacker and as the leading tackler from 2017 with 84.
If the Blue Jays can turn up the physicality and use a strong front unit to control the line of scrimmage as Bull hopes, Marshfield could take a step forward in 2018.
“We have good energy. It’s nice to see them act that way. Last year, they seemed a little tentative and weren’t sure what to think of me or the new things we brought. It’s been fun watching them accept the culture of the program.”