BRENTWOOD -- The scouting report on the Liberty High football last season gave Jeff Walters, then an assistant coach at Freedom, an indication of some of the changes the Lions would need to make to become a competitive football team.

Now as the new head coach of the Lions, Walters is trying to put some of those changes in place.

"We want to stabilize the program and put it on an upward swing," Walters said after his first week of training camp with the Lions.

Walters takes over a program which struggled to a 2-8 record in 2012, including an 0-5 mark in the Bay Valley Athletic League. The first order of business, he said, was to get the players thinking and playing as a unit on both sides of the ball.

"What I saw on tape last year was one of the first things I tried to fix when I got to Liberty," Walters said. "It's not a scheme thing, but they tried to match up man to man against us, rather than play a team game. That's my thing, trying to play as a team."

Last year, Liberty was often outmatched athletically by other teams in the BVAL, and again the Lions are not blessed with a great deal of size, Walters said. The key, he said, is for Liberty to stay active on every play.

The first test comes Aug. 30, when the Lions play host to Concord in the season opener.

Walters is blending a handful of seniors with some talented juniors in their second year as varsity starters along with a core of juniors from last year's 8-1-1 junior varsity team.

The seniors are led by first-team all-leaguer Ivan Oseguera, who last season led Liberty in passing (41 of 79, 441 yards) and receiving (35 catches, 337 yards) and was second in rushing (239 yards).

"He's a natural-born leader," Walters said. "He gets after it and uses all his tools. We're trying to maximize his potential. We're trying to put all the players in the best position possible to be successful.

He's competing for the job at quarterback in Walters' new uptempo offense.

The player with the second-most touches, Cody Maguyhop, led the Lions in rushing with 454 yards last year as a sophomore. The second-team all-leaguer is a small back, at 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds, but is a powerful runner between the tackles, Walters said.

The Lions are trying to kick some life into an offense which accounted for 17 touchdowns last season -- with just four in their five BVAL games.

"We try to get in a lot of plays in a short amount of time, and use a lot of formations," he said. "We're going to have a lot of movement and lot of guys touching the ball."

On defense, Liberty is anchored by a couple of junior returning starters, defensive end Shane Goodwin and free safety Kyle Trego. Goodwin, 6-2 and 215 pounds, was first-team all-league last year at offensive tackle and second-team All-BVAL on the defensive line. He led the Lions with five sacks and another five tackles for loss, and averaged 4.9 tackles a game from his defensive end position.

"He's a leader in the classroom and a leader on campus, and is fantastic to be around," Walters said of Goodwin, who played at 180 pounds last season.

Trego was the Lions' leading tackler last year, averaging 10 per game, with one interception and three fumble recoveries.

One of the new starters moving up from the JV team is middle linebacker Alex Espinoza, a 5-8 junior who took a firm grip on the starting job during preseason workouts.

"He's a classic middle linebacker, and he puts other guys in the right position to be successful," Walters said.

Walters, in his first year as a head coach, isn't ready to write off 2013 as simply a building year. He said he wants the Lions to enjoy success this year and lay the groundwork for better days ahead.

"I like to think of football as a four-year program for every kid," he said. "I would like to see us become a stable program competing for the BVAL title, and eventually for a North Coast championship."

Schedule

Aug. 30 CONCORD 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 at West-Tracy 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 13 HAYWARD 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Castro Valley 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 OAKLAND TECH 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 ANTIOCH* 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 PITTSBURG* 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Deer Valley* 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 at Heritage* 7 p.m.
Nov. 8 at Freedom* 7 p.m.

*BVAL game