Inexperienced Ben Lippen building with new coach

Falcons will have fresh approach this season

Special to The StateAugust 26, 2013 

Ben Lippen football

C. ALUKA BERRY — caberry@thestate.com Buy Photo

  • Ben Lippen Falcons

    COACH: Jolly Doolittle

    2012 RECORD: 3-7

    KEY GAME: Sept. 13 Heathwood Hall. This early game against another program looking to move up should be a good indication of where the Falcons are heading.

    KEY PLAYER: Robert Barrow. The junior quarterback has started 11 games of the past two seasons and is the veteran leader under a new coaching regime.

Jolly Doolittle recently broke from the norm by packing the Ben Lippen football team off to camp for a few days in Fairfield County.

“For a variety of reasons, not many teams go away to camp anymore, but I felt it would be a good team-building experience for the players and the coaches,” said the new Falcons coach, who spent the past 10 seasons at W.W. King Academy.

“It was a good way for everybody to get to know each other better. The coaches got the chance to know the kids better, and the kids got the chance to know the coaches better. I don’t know if we’ll continue to go off campus for camp, but I think it was a positive experience, given the circumstances.”

With an almost all-new coaching staff and a handful of returning starters, Doolittle has a work-in-progress team on the eve of the new season.

“We won’t be too different offensively because we’ll still be in multiple formations out of the spread, but I can’t say right now if we’ll be a running team, a passing team or a balanced team,” he said.

“Basically, we’ll do what we have to do to score more points than the opposition.”

The Falcons were heavily run-oriented with Tyler Renew the past two seasons. Ben Lippen’s expected go-to man on offense this season could be junior quarterback Robert Barrow, who has started 11 games over the past two seasons.

“Tyler was perhaps the best player in (SCISA) the last two seasons, so he had the ball in his hands a lot,” Doolittle said. “But they still threw it around pretty good with Robert last season.”

The only other returning starters on offense are receiver Wright Bynum, tackle Andrew Mack and center Cullen Carlin.

Senior running back David Rhoden and junior wide receiver Aaron McGuire are returning lettermen with shots at starting jobs.

Newcomers to watch include freshman lineman Knox Carlen, the grandson of former South Carolina coach Jim Carlen, running back Will Gissendanner and receiver Braden Cox.

The inexperience level is greater on the defensive unit, where the returning starters are Will Carter in the secondary, Rhoden at linebacker and Mack up front. Carter is moving from cornerback to safety.

“We’re still sorting things out,” Doolittle said. “The good thing is the kids are working hard, and they are a very coachable group. Our job is to put them in the best positions to help the team.”

Falcons schedule

Aug. 30at Porter-Gaud
Sept. 6Augusta C.
Sept. 13Heathwood Hall
Sept. 20at C.A. Johnson
Sept. 27L.M. Academy
Oct. 4at Pinewood P.
Oct. 11at Hammond
Oct. 18Orangeburg P.
Oct. 25Wilson Hall
Nov. 1at C. Newman

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