The new varsity head football coach at The Out-of-Door Academy in Lakewood Ranch wants fans and players to know one thing is for sure.
Big plays are coming.
K.B. Belton, 30, was named the program’s head coach May 11 after Chris Kempton stepped down to pursue opportunities at the college level.
Belton was the offensive coordinator under Kempton in 2019, when the team scored 27 or more points in seven of nine games. Belton said the program will be building on what it did last year, when it went 6-3 and reached the playoffs. He said that includes more explosive plays and a faster tempo.
“We want our offense to be fun to watch and fun to run,” Belton said. “It should be exciting to play for us. Our kids coming back already know that. We are lucky to have a lot of talented kids to use.”
That includes quarterback Tyler Beasley, who will be a senior in the fall and who was offered a scholarship by the University of Tennessee in March. Beasley said he's excited to be working with Belton again for his senior season, as he knows how to maximize the offense's strengths.
Not having a spring session for practice will hurt, Belton said, but it will hurt him less than it would a coach installing a brand new system. The biggest thing Belton wants to do now is set expectations, and he can do that by relying on his senior class to help keep kids accountable, making sure they continue to stay in shape and study plays despite not having team practices.
Belton said he learned a lot in his sole season under Kempton, with the most important thing being to treat all three phases of the game as equally important. Belton said Kempton, who has a defensive background, would also be involved in offensive meetings and especially special teams meetings. Special teams consistency was a big part of multiple wins last year, Belton said, and he wants that to continue.
Before 2019, Belton coached ODA’s middle school program. He also coached with the East Manatee Bulldogs youth program and helped run the Sarasota Under the Lights youth flag football league, which allowed him to make inroads with those players and their families. He’s a familiar face around the school, he said, which becomes important in getting the players he wants.
“We want to be dominant here,” Belton said. “We won’t naturally get a lot of four- or five-star recruits, so that means getting some kids with athletic potential to play for us, even if they have never played football before,” Belton said. A lot of times, they already want to play football but their parents are hesitant. Having me around around, those parents are more open to letting their kids play. They trust that we are going to do things the right way.”
Belton, who was raised in St. Louis, said as a young player he coasted on his talent rather than putting in the work, studying playbooks and watching film. He got into coaching because he wanted to instill a champion-level work ethic in today’s young players, he said, helping them avoid making the mistakes he did.