NEW WASHINGTON - As a player, Jeffrey Niedermier was one of the best at Buckeye Central.
The former offensive lineman was so good, he went on to play college ball at Division I Buffalo.
With a resume like that, the 2004 BC graduate has faced his share of tests.
But this is something different.
Niedermier is not only in his first season as a football head coach (he was a wrestling coach at Willard), but he takes over a team that had just two wins in 2012.
On top of that, he's replacing a man - Jason Ratliff - who led the Bucks to back-to-back playoff appearances. The 2011 run ended in the Division VI state finals.
|Buckeye Central Bucks|
|2012: 2-8, 1-6 North Central?Conference|
|Head coach: Jeffrey Niedermier.|
|Assistant coaches: Chad Jensen; Terry Oswald; Joe Wiles; John Kehres; Reese Martin.|
|Aug. 30||at New London|
|Sept. 6||at Cardington-Lincoln|
|Sept. 20||at Wynford|
|Sept. 27||at Colonel Crawford|
|Oct. 18||at Upper Sandusky|
|Oct. 25||at Riverdale|
Then there's the suddenness of Niedermier's promotion.
Ratliff resigned his position as Bucks' coach less than two months ago. Niedermier - an assistant for Ratliff - was hired to run the program last month.
A lot of change, a lot of new responsibility.
Not a lot of time.
"It's kind of been a whirlwind now," Niedermier said. "It's been almost two months since the whole thing went down, but it's happened fast and furious.
"Jason left a lot of things really in place, because it was so close to the season. There were quite a few things I didn't quite have to take care of from the get-go, but I had to finish taking care of," he said. "So the transition went fairly smoothly, but it's one of those things, you don't know all that's truly entailed until you're sitting in that seat."
Niedermier said he talks with Ratliff often.
"Almost daily," Niedermier said.
Still, it's Niedermier's team now, and he believes the Bucks can make a jump in their win total, despite its youth. BC only has five seniors on its roster.
"We're still young; our biggest class is our sophomore class," he said. "We're still looking to grow, still getting those things down, but I still think we have a shot to hit that .500 mark. We've got some winnable games that if we do things right... we can win those games."
On offense, Niedermier said he will be using a pair of quarterbacks - senior Kameron Jones and sophomore Grant Loy.
Niedermier said the two bring different attributes to the table.
"[Jones] does some things differently," Niedermier said. "He's more of a (runner), he can run the ball a little bit, but he throws the ball well when he runs."
In Loy, the Bucks have a player who started three games as a freshman.
"He's more of a pocket guy," Niedermier said. "He can drop back, throw the ball, so both of them do what they do well, but they're very different quarterbacks. So we think we can use that a little bit to our advantage."
At fullback, the Bucks have three-year letterwinner Alec Baldosser, while sophomore Cody Roberts will play at tailback.
While Niedermier described both Baldosser and Roberts as "a very hard runner."
At receiver, Jordan Herrnstein will be there, as will Scott Heydinger and Ross Martin. Bryce Brenneman also will see time there.
The coach said the Bucks also will rotate in a pair of tight ends - Cole Stacklin and Denver Wright.
"We use tight ends quite a bit, blocking and going out for pass routes, it just depends," Niedermier said. "Both of them do a good job for us when they're in there."
The offensive line, which could be considered Niedermier's specialty, doesn't have the size of the past, but the coach believes it can be effective.
"We've got three seniors that are on that line," Niedermier said. "They know where they're going, they know what they're doing, and we've got two juniors, so they're all experienced players.
That line includes Clay McCarthy, Eric Hanes, Alex Reed, Lane Sautter and Seth Ollis.
On defense, the Bucks will run a 4-4. Up front, Ollis, Sautter and McCarthy will be there, as will Wright.
Niedermier said it will be important to establish a rotation.
"That's one thing we've got to look for - get guys off the field to give them a little bit of a break," he said. "We don't want to play the whole time."
At linebacker, Niedermier said he will use Stacklin, Baldosser, Martin and Roberts.
The coach said he is confident in his linebackers.
"We're a little thin, so we've got to watch out for injuries," he said. "But those guys can play those positions there, so they're going to help us out there."
In the secondary will be Heydinger, Herrnstein and Jones.
"We're always working every week to get better," Niedermier said. "We're in a good spot right now, but they've got a lot of improvement they can still do throughout the season. As long as we keep growing, I think we'll be OK and hit that .500 mark."
On special teams, Niedermier is looking for improvement.
"It's never been a real strong area, I don't think, at Buckeye Central," he said. "But this year we've got three different guys doing all three things. We've got Cole Stacklin doing our PATs and our field goals. Seth Ollis, he's kicking off for us."
The coach said freshman Tyler Trapp is likely to get the nod at punter.
Heydinger, Herrnstein and Baldosser are expected to handle the kick and punt returns.
Niedermier said the players have adjusted well to the changes in the program.
"As the coaching staff we saw [Ratliff's resignation] coming a little bit," he said. "We thought it might happen. But the kids have responded well. They've come back, they've rallied around what's going on and come together as a family, working together to get the job done."