Dylan Wyrick has a fondness for the power running game.
That should make him a popular guy as he takes over the football program at Salem High School.
With short notice after Brian McNamee resigned as Tiger head coach late in the school year Salem went with youth, feeling it has selected an up-and-comer in the coaching ranks.
Salem will be the first head coaching job for Wyrick, age 27. A 2010 graduate of Potosi High School, where he was an all-state linebacker and all-state running back, Wyrick spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater.
“Obviously, I’m very excited for the opportunity,” Wyrick said. “I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at without God and my family, and I thank them. I truly believe where character is built, wins and success will follow. And that’s what I hope we can do (in Salem).”
Last season the Potosi Trojans finished 5-6-0. During Wyrick’s playing career with the Trojans, Potosi had some great teams, finishing 11-1 as a senior, 8-3 as a junior, 6-4 as a sophomore and 8-2 as a freshman.
“Three years ago Potosi played Salem in the district playoffs,” Wyrick said. “At that time I think Salem started running the spread but had some injuries and was running the wishbone at the time (they played Potosi). And they were really successful with it.
Potosi won that game against Salem in 2016, 34-24.
He will get a much more up close and personal look at the Tigers starting this week. Wyrick was scheduled to meet with his new players and assistant coaches at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the high school gym.
Despite the lateness of the coaching search, Salem Athletic Director Phil Karr feels the Tigers may have found a good one in Wyrick.
“All the references on him were excellent,” Karr said of Wyrick. “He was an all-state player at Potosi and was an assistant coach there for four years. He is an energetic young coach; you could tell that in the interview.”
Despite a late start, Wyrick feels the Tigers will get up to speed quickly with his offensive system, since it is very similar to the one they used the last couple years. Plus, although no longer a member of the football staff McNamee will still be around to bounce questions off of as the Tiger weight room coordinator and track head coach.
“We’ve got the month of June,” he said. “I’m in school at Potosi until May 30. Then we’ll hit the ground running, installing a new system. Most of our camp stuff is in July. We’re looking to get things scheduled in June.
“We’re going to run I-formation and pro-set; some power-I. Depending on our quarterback situation a lot of play-action (passing) and counter, with some misdirection stuff. Some wishbone.”
Salem built its football reputation with smash-mouth option football under longtime head coach Bill Schuchardt.
After Schuchardt retired, Salem switched to the spread to try and take advantage of some personnel strengths there and used it four seasons. However, in 2017 McNamee switched back to option football and the results were an impressive 8-4 overall record, a 5-2 SCA mark and a run to the district title game.
With an inexperienced team saddled with many key injuries, 2018 was McNamee’s toughest season as the Tigers lost their last four games and six of their final seven to finish with a 3-7 overall record and 2-5 league mark. Three of those losses were by a combined seven points.
“I know (Schuchardt) and respect him highly,” Wyrick said. “He’s a Missouri Hall-of-Famer and a legend around Salem.
“If you can be successful in running the ball and controlling the clock you have a better chance of winning. That was kind of our game-plan in Potosi the last couple of years. The fact (Salem has run the option) the last couple of years will help out tremendously. The main thing is they will have to adjust to the language; the terminology of a new system. How we call the offensive formation. Scheme-wise, not much will change.”
“I think it definitely helped him,” Karr said of his desire to use a power running game in landing the Tiger job. “I know our community and the talent we have now is more geared towards power football.”
Wyrick wants to be smash-mouth on the defensive side of the ball as well.
“Defensively a lot of teams are going back to running power,” he said. “I really like a four-man front. We’ll also run more of a 3-4 against spread teams. But it will be a 4-3 or 4-2-5 against run teams.”
After graduating from Potosi High, Wyrick played one season of football at Central Methodist before a knee injury ended his career. He earned a degree in middle school social studies.
He will also be teaching ISS and possibly some weight training at Salem.
Dylan Wyrick and his wife, Kelsey, have two children – Connor, age two, and Grace, age one.