In the three seasons that Chad Grier directed the football program at Oceanside Collegiate Academy, the Landsharks were known for their ability to score plenty of points.
In their toughest games, Oceanside would normally allow the other teams plenty of offense and Grier was content with high-scoring shootouts. The coach had a heavy arsenal of offensive weapons at his disposal and was a master game planner.
Grier left Oceanside after last season's run to the Class AA Lower State finals, which ended with a loss to Barnwell in a game where, you guessed it, there were plenty of points on the board (73).
Former Summerville head coach Joe Call is the new boss at Oceanside Collegiate. Like Grier, Call is known as an offensive-minded coach having been a former offensive coordinator before becoming a head coach.
However, Call’s first team at OCA is quite different than what Landsharks fans are accustomed to seeing. The 2020 Landsharks are much more defensive than they ever have been.
In their 3-0 start this fall, the Landsharks have allowed only two touchdowns, one each to Bishop England and Hanahan. The 16-7 win over Hanahan last Friday night all but secured the region 8-AAA championship, barring an unforeseen major upset.
In that win over Hanahan, the Landsharks did not allow a first down in the second half and limited the Hawks to around 100 total yards in offense.
“We are so young and inexperienced as a unit on offense right now and we’ve been really inconsistent,” Call said. “We have good players and we’re going to be okay. Not having a spring and summer seven-on-seven has us behind some. For now, we gotta lean on those guys on defense to carry the load some. And they have been really good so far. There’s some real players over on that side of the ball.”
The entire defensive coaching staff is new to Oceanside this fall. Coordinator Willie Offord, a former college star at the University of South Carolina, has brought energy and intensity to the program, says Call. Another former Gamecock, K.C. Crosby is in his first season as the linebackers coach. Former Coastal Carolina and Summerville performer Marquel Willis coaches the secondary and former Citadel player Andrew Niemeyer works with the defensive line.
“Willie didn’t come in and try to complicate things,” Call said. “He decided to get those guys good at three or four things, keep it simple but get them playing fast. Those kids love to play defense and coach Offord has instilled in them a lot of confidence.”
None of the 11 defensive starters are seniors, which bodes well for the foreseeable future. It also will allow Offord the opportunity to add schematically as this season moves forward.
Anchoring the unit are linebackers Carson Arnold and Rhett Powell. Sophomores Marcus Adams and Tim Castain freshman Ben Britton and junior James Deveaux work along the front. Freshman defensive back Zai Offord is a potential star in the secondary.
“What we hope can happen is we develop a good flow and rhythm offensively over these last few regular season games,” Call said. “If that happens, and we keep playing the great defense, we’re going to be a pretty solid football team come playoff time.”