One on One with Coach Rock

The Western Michigan University Broncos offensive coordinator Brian Rock took time out of preparing for the 2004-football season earlier this week to talk to Broncos Illustrated. He talked about the battle that's heating up for the starting quarterback position as well as being able to get one of the top quarterbacks in the country to come to WMU and what it takes to get the eleven guys on offense to play as a team.

Coach Rock talks about this season's offense and using two tight end formations more this season.

"Well I think one of the biggest things that we try to do every year is that we want to make sure that we play to our strength. We are going to spend the first week or five days or so pretty much teaching our base offense, making sure that we have the best eleven players on the field and we've always been a multiple personnel and multiple formation type of offense. We are definitely very excited about the two tight ends that we have Tony Scheffler and Tyson DeVree. Let's not kid ourselves, we definitely want to be able to have both of those guys in the game at the same time because hopefully that will give us the best opportunity to win."

He talks about the possibilities of the Broncos using two-back formations instead of the one-back formations they now use.

"Well no I don't think philosophically we're in a position that we're going to change overnight. I think it's kind of along the same line when people refer to the spread offense that's kind of the northwestern option style stuff. We've had elements of that in our offense but that's not traditionally been kind of what we hang our hat on. If you look throughout the NFL I think one-back offense is still very prevalent and will continue to be prevalent. The different styles I think will change from here to there but it kind of goes along the same lines as with Tyson and Tony. We've got to good tight ends so we've got to find ways to get them in the game at the same time. When we get to the point where we have two great running backs if we need to materialize ways to get them into the game at the same time we would do so because that's our job as coaches to get our best personnel in the game."

He talks about the possibility of Scheffler and DeVree being used more as possession type of players when the Broncos need a first down on third and medium or third and long to keep a drive going.

"I don't see that being restricted to a run situation or a pass situation. They are both really good players. They are big, tall targets that catch the ball very well and both of them can run. Yeah, they can be seen in any situation."

Coach Rock talks about the battle for starting quarterback.

"We have two, and you throw Robbie Haas in there, we've got three real talented veteran juniors and obviously Alex Engram the young freshman. But coming out of the springtime we have Blayne and Ryan that are the two front runners at this point in time. But as we do every year when we come into camp we are going to look at who has the best success and who has matured the most. Bottom line is we're going to have such an emphasis on "team" that we've got to find the guy that leads our team the best. If you think back a couple of years ago to Jeff Welsh. Jeff Welsh was not going to be flashy. He wasn't going to blow you away with his arm strength and those kinds of things but he was a great leader and he knew how to operate our offense and so we created a great deal of success. Whoever our quarterback is this year that's what we are looking for."

Coach Rock talks about being able to get Alex Engram to come to Western Michigan University.

"I think Coach Molnar did a good job in the recruiting process. I think there's a lot of things that go into that. Recruiting is not an exact science and he fit. It was a great fit at the right time. Alex has a wonderful opportunity here. I think that's how recruiting goes. We work hard at recruiting the kind of guys that fit our offense and when you have conscientious young men who are looking to find a place to attend college where they feel like they fit then you end up having a good match. I think that's what really happened is Alex wanted a place where they were committed to having an open style of offense which we do and I think the time and place was right. We are very pleased to have him. I guarantee you that."

He talks about being able to get the eleven guys on offense to focus on the team and not individually.

"I think that's something that you start addressing right off the get go. In today's society I think there's a big emphasis on "me, me, me" and that's one of the things that we need to overcome to be successful. I think we have some guys that understand that right now so it's not really where comes from. It's got to be communicated from the coaches to the players. It's got to be acted upon and lived by the coaches. The players see that happening and you have a few leaders that buy into that way of life and into that line of thinking and then they communicate it to each other. Really it's kind of a snowball effect. I think that when a team sport of which football is probably the quintessential team sport is successful and when it is a great experience for everybody, it's when we have a large number of young men all competing as a team and in a team concept. Because only when you compete as a team and you have that trust and that communication and all those things with the other guys that are working with you and working around you that's when the individual honors open up and when the individual honors come. If you don't have those things it just doesn't happen so that's why we coach football, that's why we play football is because we want to be involved in a team concept."

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