Bob Bateman, an assistant coach under Mike Rippee at Douglas for 10 seasons who spent the last eight years as the head coach at rival Carson High, returns to the Tigers' sideline this fall.
And Bateman is overseeing a change in defensive formations at Douglas. The Tigers will switch from a 4-3 defense to a variation of the 50 defense.
Rippee said te new defense, which features two interior linemen - a nose guard and one defense tackle - two stand-up defensive ends, four linebackers and three defensive backs, puts a premium on stopping the opponent's running game.
"It's a run-stop type of defense," Rippee said. "We're going to put eight people in the box, basically. We're going to use a lot of movement with the defensive lineman up front and give them different looks.
"Bob convinced me he was comfortable with the people we had coming back that we could run it. Defensively, if you're tough and you tackle, I dont' care what scheme you run, you're going to be OK."
Chad Linderman (6-3, 280) and Joe Immers (6-4, 280) are both working at the defensive tackle position and both have had good preseason camps, Rippee said.
Brandon Shupe (5-9, 215), Grant Hall (5-9, 180) and Danilo Aguilera (6-0, 210) are working at the nose guard spot. Rippee said all three are strong players who can move their feet, two key requirements for the position.
Senior Chris Vogel (5-10, 190) is another hard working player who could see time at nose guard.
Santino Calabrese, Kevin Jones, Tommy Hoyle and Cal Lewis, all seniors, make up the two-deep rosters at the two defensive end positions. Hoyle and Jones are working at the Stud (Over the tight end) position, while Lewis and Calabrese are playing the Quick side.
Douglas will switch from three to four linebackers this season.
Senior Nathan Bennett is the leading candidate to start at the Will (weak inside) linebacker position. Sophomore Jake Peterson enters the season as the starter at Mike (middle) linebacker.
Rippee said seniors Jake Allsip adn David Tingle and sophomore Stormy Herald are all likely to see time at one of the two inside linebacker positions.
At outside linebacker, Douglas lines up with a Tiger, which is similar to a strong safety, and a Rhino. Senior Steve Scheetz is a top the depth chart at Tiger, but fellow senior Mason Hermosillo and junior James Bunting are both aggressive, hard-nosed players who also can play the position. Allsip and sophomore Andy McIntosh give the Douglas coaches a pair of quality choices for the Rhino spot.
"I've always said a defense without good linebackers is like a humam with a heart," Rippee said. "It doesn't work. Hopefully, these guys will step up to the challenge."
The defensive backfield will feature a safety and two cornerbacks.
Seniors Erik Olson, Shane Cauley, Mike Garren and Andrew Andrews all saw considerable playing time as starters last season. Those four, along with junior Drew Bateman, make up the short list of players vying for the three DB spots.
Rippee said juniors Craig Bell and Nick Bedwell and sophomore Luke Rippee also have the ability to make contributions at defensive back this season.
"Coach Bateman believes in competition," Rippee said. "And he's not afraid to fire people. Our defensive backs will have to be able to perform because we have pretty good depth."