Rookie Phoenixville football coach Evan Briesblatt makes no bones about what he expects from the Phantoms this season.
"We want to build character, we want to build pride and we want to build toughness,' Breisblatt said. "The history of Phoenixville football is being tough.'
That motto, ' Phoenixville tough', will adorn the Phantoms' new t-shirts this fall.
Breisblatt wasn't just talking the talk either. While most area teams were forced indoors during last Wednesday's driving rain, the Phantoms were drilling out on the Washington Field turf under less-than-ideal conditions.
After back-to-back winning campaigns in 2011 and 2012, Phoenixville endured an injury-riddled 4-9 season (4-5 in the PAC-10) last year.
Breisblatt, the head coach at Pequea Valley in eastern Lancaster county the past three seasons, succeeds Bill Furlong, who resigned after an 11-year tenure.
"We want to be a competitive football team,' Breisblatt said. "It's going to take a little time to implement all my stuff, but we're definitely going to go no-huddle. We want to throw a million formations at people and we want to run our core plays.'
One player who will be a main focus of the offense is junior Matt Palubinksy, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder will utilize as both a receiver and runner.
"He's packaged in a lot of different ways,' Breisblatt said. "We want to get the ball to Matt Palubinsky; it's not going to be a secret.'
Junior Ian Brown takes over at quarterback, with Dave Rosati, Zach Gallow and Jason Waltman composing the core of the line. According to Breisblatt, other key skill people could be Mike Ciaverelli, Brenn Myers, Kyle Bennick and Damien Davido.
"We're not going to have a 25-carry guy on this team,' said Breisblatt.
What the Phantoms will likely have is a lot of guys who play both ways — with linebacker Gallow, strong safety Palubinsky, cornerback Brown and lineman Rosati leading the defensive charge.
"Depth's a problem right now,' Breisblatt said. "One thing we'll need to do is build this program from the middle school level up to the high school level. We have 29-to-30 kids in 10th-to-12th grades right now. A lot of guys got varsity experience last year, it's just a matter of us implementing a new system.'
"I feel like we're a little more energized,' Rosati said. "We have new people, new coaches, new plays, and we're all upbeat. Plus we still have that Phoenixville mentality.'
Which should make the Phantoms a tough opponent for their PAC-10 foes.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.