Collegiate football: Quick Spartans adapt to Gehrers system
Collegiate coach Mike Gehrer spent the summer getting to know his new team.
Gehrer, who returns to Collegiate after coaching the Spartans from 1990-2004, developed relationships with his team during weight lifting and conditioning. Hes seen what they can do through those same sessions, and the overwhelming thing he learned?
Our team speed is definitely a weapon, said Gehrer, whose team moved up to Class 4A.
Running back Isaiah Franklin, who had 513 rushing yards before an injury sidelined him, is quick up the middle and outside, and he can catch, as well. Teams wont be able to focus only on him because Collegiate will expand its passing game with junior quarterback Landon Root, who transferred from Kapaun Mount Carmel.
His ability to throw the ball and put the ball on the perimeter, that makes us hard to defend when you have a tailback like Isaiah Franklin, said Gehrer, who replaced Bill Messamore, now an assistant coach. Gehrer plans for the offense to be balanced with 60 percent coming from the pass.
(Root) can make the short passes and the long passes, Gehrer said. He throws the ball well.
Root replaces senior Markus Phox, Collegiates quarterback the past two seasons. Phox has moved to receiver.
Markus is going to be a college football player, but not a college quarterback, Gehrer said. This (move) really plays into that, for both of those guys . Markus real asset is making people miss in space. He is so good with the ball in space, and to be able to use him on the sweep, we can throw him the ball, throw him the three-yard play, and who knows what it will turn into. He makes things happen. He has unbelievable hands and has great vision. Hes a shake-and-bake guy.
Phox joins receivers Spenser Schooler, who had 15 catches for 421 yards in 2011, and Connor Fleming, who also has speed.
We have three (players) running 4.4 (second 40-yard dashes), Schooler said of himself, Phox and Franklin. Weve got speed.
Theres also speed on defense, especially in the secondary with Phox, Forrest Short, Schooler and Franklin, who all had playing time last season.
Collegiate doesnt have a whole lot of size across the board Trace Clark, a Top 11 selection, graduated but the Spartans will use that speed and aggression, Gehrer said.
It will be a very aggressive team, he said, probably with someone coming on every play. Those guys are willing to play the game at a high speed. Theyll be very, very aggressive. Thats the reason why were in motion because we have guys who can do it.
Gehrer is especially high on junior Seth Carder at linebacker and noted he would fill in nicely for Myles Copeland, a 2011 All-Metro player now at Kansas State.
Hell be one you pay attention to, Gehrer said. He wont only be physically prepared, but hes a student of the game, and his motor goes. Hes the guy in charge.