What does all-conference running back Owen Williams think about the 2011 Scouts? Go to our Facebook page to hear what the returning all-conference runningback has to say.
Going on his ninth season, football coach has raised expectations following four playoff appearances in five years, including a first round win in 2010.
As he and his coaching staff held their July camp in preparation for the 2011 season, Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch caught up with Spagnoli and asked him about his two-quarterback system, how he will replace six starters on defense and if the Scouts can reach the lofty goals he has set for the program.
What's going on right now?
We are putting in pieces of our offense and defense so every day they are getting something new. And in addition to that they are trying to remember what they got the day before, the day before that and the day before that. Between 6-10 days they are just crazed with information. Every day we just talk about hustling, playing hard, having enthusiasm. If they don’t know something, ask. Don’t screw it up on purpose. There’s a lot to that.
Is this the time you are integrating new parts of the playbook?
That’s what July is for. It’s for putting in offense, defense, kicking game. Everything is new for these guys. We have sophomores through seniors out there. Some of the seniors may have heard it before, but last year they may have been an offensive player and this year they are getting it new on offense or vice versa. For sophomores, everything is new.
When the season opens Aug. 26 against Buffalo Grove, what will we see different from a year ago?
The difference at that time is kids will be settled into a position that they will be playing full-time for the most part. So they will have a better understanding of what they are supposed to do. In addition to that, the game plan will widdle a lot of the mess out. Right now we are throwing so much at them, but honestly in each game there are only two, three, four, six things you are focused on for that week. It takes a lot of it out. Now we are throwing so much at them, it’s a lot to remember. In a game week, there are a few key things and you try and make it simple. Our whole thing is you got to play fast. If they can’t play fast, usually it’s because they are confused.
You had a two quarterback system last year with Jordan Beck and Paul Carollo. Beck is back. Carollo has graduated. Can we expect a quarterback rotation this fall?
It’s a little early but up until Tommy Rees’ junior year, we always played two at times. Our whole thought process is God forbid something happened to the first-team guy, it’s not the first time the second team guy got on the field. He doesn’t have to go on the field scared. We’ll probably use him (junior Andrew Clifford) some, but it’s a matter how quickly he can adapt and how quickly he can adjust.
You had a veteran defense last year. Tough to replace. Who are some of the names you expect to make an impact this fall?
Senior Ben Warren started every game last year at defensive back and we would expect nothing but that again. (Senior) Nick Keefe started every game last year at linebacker and we expect him to play. (Senior linebacker) Matt Wagener started every game on defense and we expect him to play. (Senior linebacker) Brandt Pfeifer played 40 to 50 percent of the snaps last year. (Senior defensive lineman) Tyler Funk started every game so yeah, we lose some guys (Connor Cavalaris, TJ Jackson, Cameron Crowe), but those are guys we expect a lot out of.
Four playoff appearances in five years. What must the program do to keep moving forward?
It’s our kids' understanding of what needs to be done for them to be successful every year. I said this when I got here that our goal is to be the best program in the state of Illinois. Now, that’s an easy thing to say and a hard thing to happen. Slowly but surely, we are making steps to that end. When I got here, we would have five or six kids in off-season workouts. Now, we’ll have 35 and it’s not uncommon to have 60 on a Sunday. The kids are understanding that success is not something you can just take. It’s something that has to be earned.