During the early years of Ed Dalton's head coaching tenure at Trinity, the Hillers ran the football. They ran the football a lot. Then, they ran the football some more.
Once quarterbacks like Cody Endres and Brad Martin entered the program, Trinity went to a more pro-style offense. Sometimes, the Hillers actually passed - on first down.
In an era of spread offenses and prolific statistics, Trinity decided to tinker its offensive approach for the 2011 season. Rather than study offenses being implemented at Pitt and West Virginia, Dalton and staff studied the ways of Georgia Tech, Army, Navy, McKeesport and Serra Catholic.
The Hillers are working on the triple option.
"With our depth at running back, we thought it gave us the best chance," Dalton said.
It's not a complicated offense, but it is one of precision. For the Hillers, it's been a work in progress but they believe it's their best chance to improve as a program.
Trinity is an annual playoff team, and figures to contend again in the Class AAA Big Seven Conference. Yet, the Hillers haven't advanced past the first round since 2007 - the senior seasons of Andrew Sweat and Michael Yancich.
"This offense is a separator," Dalton said. "It's turned programs that just hung around into ones that played state championships, and it's made the Georgia Techs and Navys competitive against better talent."
Top players: Patrick Frey (Soph., RB), Xavier Severns (Jr., OL/DL)
Frey put together a strong freshman season and will be relied upon heavily in Trinity's new triple-option offense.
At 6-2, 275, Severns is Trinity's next blue-chip prospect. The Hillers coaching staff became believers in Severns' work habits during the offseason and plan on using the powerful lineman on both sides of the football full-time. Severns may also be the Hillers' kicker.
Watch out for: Brandon Robertson (Sr., FB/LB)
Robertson served as Trinity's long snapper last year - a job he'll continue to hold - and a back-up defensive player. With the gradation of Kyle McWreath, Robertson's role will increase. There's no doubt he has the athleticism as Robertson was the top performer among 800-plus players at a Nike Combine in Pittsburgh in March.
Key position: Quarterback
John Laschinsky and Jason Vankirk are competing for the starter's role. Laschinsky is the more mobile of the two; Vankirk the more accurate passer.
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