When Mike Barry was hired in the off-season as Hinsdale South's football coach, he didn't know much about returning starters or statistics.
Frankly, it didn't matter to him. Everyone stood on equal footing as the Hornets embarked upon a new era.
"We're starting over with every aspect of the program," said Barry, who in three seasons transformed an 0-8 Evergreen Park team into a 5-4 team last year. "We're trying to lay that foundation and build a winning tradition."
With a drastically different-looking team, the Hornets aim to take a step toward their first playoff appearance since 2005. The key will be transitioning to a new system on both sides of the ball.
Barry, a player at Downers Grove North and Kent State before coaching for 10 years in Florida, is shifting to a no-huddle, spread offense while presenting multiple defensive looks.
The offensive will look especially different as junior D.J. Deolitsis takes the reins at quarterback in front of an inexperienced line. Deolitsis will have talented receivers to work with, including D.J. King and Proviso West transfer Jeremy Ferguson. Both also will see time in the secondary.
Keontae Hall returns to the backfield after rushing for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns last season, but all eyes will be on the Hornets' fast-paced passing attack.
"We like our skill players," Barry said. "This offense finds a way to get the ball in their hands."
Barry expects the defense to be a strong point led by senior Danny Davis, a tough block on the line.
"We've got a lot of seniors on defense," Barry said. "We've got some experience on that side of the ball."
It took a couple of years to turn around Evergreen Park, and Barry believes it's also just a matter of time at Hinsdale South.
"It's been a change for the kids and they've really responded well," Barry said. "They want to win and they're doing what it takes."
Coach: Mike Barry (first year; fourth year overall, 10-17).
2010 record: 3-6, 2-4, tied for fifth in West Suburban Gold.
Top players: D.J. King (WR-DB, 6-0, 185, sr.); D.J. Deolitsis (QB, 5-10, 160, jr.); Keontae Hall (RB, 5-9, 190, sr.); Jeremy Ferguson (WR-DB, 5-8, 155, sr.); Danny Davis (DL, 5-11, 220, sr.); Zach Hynek (LB, 6-2, 200, sr.); Justin Ward (WR-K, 6-2, 170, jr.); Roy Okendo (OL, 6-1, 255, sr.); Zack Guritz (OL, 6-3, 265, jr.).
Fri, Aug 26 @ Romeoville 7 p.m.
Fri, Sep 2 @ York 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Sep 10 @ Proviso East 1:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 16 Addison Trail 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 23 @Leyden 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Sep 30 Hinsdale Central 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 7 Morton 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 14 @ Downers South 7:30 p.m.
Fri, Oct 21 Willowbrook 7:30 p.m.