Coach's Corner: Gabe Baker

While San Antonio has not been known as a hotbed of talent, every once in a while a gem can be plucked from around the city. Websider visits with the MacArthur head coach about Gabe Baker, who very well may fill that role for A&M in the class of 2010.

What is the best thing about Gabe that makes him so special?

"Gabe is special because he just never stops smiling. He has a great attitude about the game and a great work ethic. Today, it has to be 90 degrees out and we put the kids through some tough drills and I don't think a smile ever left his face, he just loves working and getting better that much. He is like that every practice and every game, and we always say that to get better you have to want to be here even during the tough times. Gabe is definitely one of those kids."

On the field then, what is the one tool on defense that separates him from the pack?

"It's his instincts on the play, he reads very quick. It seems like he is the first one to move, and his moves are very decisive; when he recognizes the play he gets there very fast, and he is a very aggressive player. He is also equally as good at determining fakes, reverses, and play action as well."

It seems he has good intelligence on the field, do his classroom grades reflect that?

"They do, definitely. He is very good at school, and in fact is even in the orchestra here, and has really excelled at that. I think it just has to do with his work ethic; he tries so hard at everything he does. Rice may offer him very soon, if that tells you anything about his grades."

Who all has offered so far?

"Right now I believe it is Texas A&M, Tulsa, and SMU with several others, like Rice, close or very interested."

Do any of those stand out to him?

"Well obviously the Texas A&M one is a big offer, but I don't know if he has a favorite just yet. I know he is looking really hard at the education he would get at each school, because that is very important to him. I forget what he wants to do exactly, or what it is called, but it is something in the medical field. He's researching all of that right now."

In his videos it seems like he is more of a hardnosed run stopper. Is it a fair criticism to say that he has not had much experience against the pass?

"Yeah, that is probably fair. I think if you ask all the other coaches in this district about him, the first thing they would tell you is how fast he comes to stop the run. Obviously they run the ball more here than maybe in college, so he's practiced that more, but really he is just always around the ball. He led the team in tackles as a sophomore and came in second this year with 76 tackles, and 6 of those were for loss, which is pretty amazing. We put him on kickoffs and he was phenomenal there because of his knack for getting to the ball. He may need some more practice getting used to the ball being thrown more, but I'm sure he can handle it."

What is the one thing he needs to work on for the next level?

"Probably his overall speed. He's fast, but since he's used to being one of the fastest guys here he uses that as a tool when pursuing guys, and that may not be the case in college. He, as everybody, could always stand to get faster."

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