Harker Heights has yet to take the field under first-year offensive coordinator Derek Ruthardt.

But with fall camp looming, Ruthardt is confident the Knights have already laid the proper foundation for becoming a successful unit.

It helps when the player leading that offense, Troy Smith, is a senior with two years of varsity experience under his belt and is an Army commit at that.

But Ruthardt, who comes to Heights after serving as quarterbacks coach at Class 5A Missouri City Ridge Point, said the best part about working with Smith, and the rest of the Knights, goes beyond the field.

“The No. 1 thing about Troy, everyone knows how athletic he is and that he has experience, he’s had success,” Ruthardt said. “But the best thing about Troy is he’s very coachable. He’s been very excited since Day 1 when I got here for the offseason. And he’s been doing a lot of extra work on his own — just him getting guys together and going out.

“He’s a really hard worker, and I’ve been impressed with that.”

Smith, however, hasn’t been alone in that department as Ruthardt said he’s been impressed with the Knights’ collective desire to learn in his first offseason with the team.

“They’re kind of like sponges in a way,” Ruthardt said. “Everything we’ve presented, they’re just soaking it up and they’re trying to execute.”

Ruthardt said the Knights’ running game will be similar to last year with a few tweaks here and there.

The passing game, however, will be considerably different from last year and recent years, Ruthardt said.

But don’t expect Heights to turn to a flashy new offensive scheme this season.

Ruthardt said the Knights’ primary concern is simply to move the chains.

“We want to be a first down machine, and that’s our mentality: We’re getting ready for the next play to get a first down,” Ruthardt said. “That’ll turn into points as the game goes on.”

And given the business-like approach to the game that he has already seen his players take this offseason, Ruthardt was confident that the offense will be just fine when fall camp, and later the regular season, begins.

Contact Jordan Mason at jmason@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7562​

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