FOOTBALL COACHING SERIES
Kyle Lindsay- FW Luers
You lost a great player to graduation and Ohio State in Austin Mack. How do you ever replace him?
When we lost QB Noah Wezensky midway through the year, Austin was asked to do a lot more on offense than originally planned: He played WR, RB, QB... sometimes all on the same drive... and he played them well. He was a TD waiting to happen when the ball was in his hands. He was also a great leader on the team, both vocally and physically. It's nearly impossible to simply replace a talent like Austin.
With that said, we are excited about our core of running backs returning, and the line up front blocking for them. We feel we have three running backs who could play just about anywhere around. Sr. J'Lyn Charlton (930 yards, 13 TDs, 6.9 ypr in 2015) and Jr. Tyreeon Hambright (700 yards, 5 TDs, 7.1 ypr in 2015) bring experience, speed, and agility to the offense. The additions of Sr. Gareth Brouwer (who was slated to be the starting RB heading into last season before breaking his ankle on the last rep of summer workouts) and transfer Arion Nieves (from North Side) should only strengthen a solid running game. Sr's Tre Underwood (T - 6'2, 250, garnering attention as a DE) and Zach Starks (6'2, 280) return as starters up front.
Jr. Dashon Bussell (with MAC offers from Miami and ??? it's hard to keep up and nobody tells me anything) provides an athletic vertical threat with good speed and spectacular leaping abilities. As a sophomore, he had 8 TD on 27 receptions and 684 yards. If he continues to develop, he could be holding quite a few offers before he graduates.
To sum up, in a quicker manner, we will have to replace Austin by committee. One or two guys can't possible do it, but we are excited about our offensive play-making potential.
You have an new QB (Arion Nieves) coming in, how has he and the team responded?
Arion has done a great job adapting to a new school, community, and team. I'm happy with how he has fit in socially, and what he brings to t he table with his offensive skills. Arion will give us an athleticism at the QB position we haven't had in a long time. I think the system will suit him well with his play-making abilities. I also believe a strong running game will help ease him into it. If guys around him are making plays, there will naturally be less pressure... That's what we are hoping at this point anyways.
How have the additions of Homestead and Carroll been to the conference?
We discussed this at our all-conference voting last year and it was unanimous that it was a good thing for all schools involved. They add a lot of strength to our conference and better prepare us for our tournament. I think they would say the same in return.
What is the biggest improvement you see in this team?
I think our secondary play should be much improved, and much deeper. Guys like Charlton and Hambright will most likely split series on offense and defense, potentially both playing at the same time. A healthy Bussell will bring some range and physicality back to the safety position when he's on the field. We feel there are a solid 5-7 guys in addition to the three mentioned that can be impact players.
Who is the most underrated college prospect on your team?
Tre Underwood - T/DE - Got some noticing him at summer camps. No offer yet, but some game tape of him playing defense (for the first time as a varsity player) may be the difference maker.
Tyreeon Hambright - Jr. - RB/CB - His first year as a DB, I think Ty could potentially bust out in a big way with his cover skills, agility, and overall playmaking ability. He is a tremendous RB (may be our best), but a D1 offer may be from his play on the defensive side of the ball.
Who is the one player who no one knows about yet, but will??
Gareth Brouwer - Sr. RB - Did not play in 2015 due to broken ankle- slated as starting RB ahead of two good ones. If healthy, he adds some explosiveness and toughness to the position. Potential D FCS player (University of Dayton really likes him).
or Jimmy Sturm - Sr. DE - 6'4, 245 - 3rd year starter - injured most of 2015 - big and strong, experienced
Biggest position battle as we end the summer and head to fall camp?
Defensive Line - Lost entire front, with exception of Sturm... Currently wide open, with Underwood and Starks rotating.
Running Back - Who will start of the three? Good problem to have right now.
Who is one guy on your team who might not be a high level recruit, but is a great football player?
Luke Fisher - 5'8, 190 - FB/OLB - Our starting fullback, he's a throwback, tough-as-nails football player. Knows how to block and tackle, and does them well.
In what way has recruiting improved since you first started coaching??
Camps are more abundant. Satellite camps have been very beneficial to midwestern states (especially a city like Ft. Wayne with 300,000 residents and in driving distance of large cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. Offseason development programs (like AWP in Ft. Wayne) provide training and open opportunities that weren't available ten years ago to most kids in our area. Talent has always existed in this city. Now the talent has been developed and put on display for all kinds of programs.
What are the negatives about the current recruiting process?
As I mentioned above about Bussell, the lack of communication between college coaching staffs and the high school staffs exists for many, and can be frustrating at times. I wish it wasn't so, but I hear about scholarship offers via social media much more often than I get a call from a coach. I get it, to a degree, but think college staffs could really get to know the person behind the athlete much more from a coach and teacher who spends hours a day with t