SPORTS BLOG: 11 VBHS Football Questions answered for the 12th man

1) To the residents of Vero Beach and surrounding area, was that thud you heard last night Homecoming fireworks, or 40 years of hard core football tradition coming to an end?

Great question 12th man – let’s find out. I investigated, and as it turns out, VBHS did (*gasp*) practice this week! VBHS is 7-1 and has a playoff seat locked up going into the last game of the year. A loss at Palm Bay is possible, but it’s a game that means little to Coggin and the boys. If anything, it will be a good tool for the VBHS staff to learn how to deal with another great defense. Palm Bay has given up just over 9 points per game this year and has a 6-2 record.

Before you start clearing out lockers and donating the blocking sleds, take into consideration that the Pirates don’t have any Division 1 colleges that have offered anyone on defense. They are a running team that has a limited passing attack. Are they beatable? Yes, but they are a tough opponent. Preseason rankings according to Scout.com for the Treasure and Space Coast: #2 Treasure Coast, #3 Palm Bay, #4 Vero Beach. Was Scout right? Who knows, but they were in the ballpark.

2) Why play WR or QB for Fuzzy when you will not be developed or used properly?

Used properly is a relative term, isn’t it? Feel free to point out a prototypical WR or QB on the VBHS roster. Yeah, I can’t do it either. The closest thing they have to a prototype at either position is Quincy Dudley, and he’s playing TE out of necessity. Can Quincy make plays? Yes. That said, his hands have been inconsistent. A prototype at any position, like David Dixson at DE, will thrive when surrounded by other talented players. There is one prototypical WR in this whole county, and that’s Stephon Clark from SRHS. As far as a prototypical QB, there really isn’t one. The closest thing is Collier Proctor at SES, but he’s about 3″ too short to be called a prototype. If you are looking for a prototype QB, I’m sure one of you guys have Jason Pomar’s contact information somewhere. Oh, he’s out of eligibility-my bad!

That’s how often prototypes come around. Next.

3) Why doesn’t that darn coach ever throw the ball?Coggin has the best offensive line in the tri-county area, so why would he want to throw the ball when he can run so effectively. It didn’t work against Treasure Coast, right? Show me a team that has been able to score on them and I’ll point to a Mainland team that is ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Coggin throws the ball as needed, and when he can.

4) Why did the coaches calling plays last night make the TCHS defensive coordinator look like a genius?

*TCHS has a minimum of six players on defense that have been offered Division 1 scholarships to play football. Does anyone understand how elite that makes them? When you have a defense full of All-State players, it’s easy to look like a genius! Some of the guys who don’t even have offers will eventually get them, so you can count on seven or eight of those guys playing football at a major college next year or the year after

*disclaimer: the TCHS defensive coordinator may be actually be a genius.

5) Tell us, why are several starters considering St. Ed’s?

SES is an excellent school with superior connections to superior Colleges along the East Coast. The Pirates are in the process of building an excellent football program that has old ties to VBHS. Hey, the grass is always greener-especially when the grass has playing time on it.

6) Why wasn’t your more athletic QB out there?

It’s because Coggin is rotating QB’s, and has been all year. Todd Fennell has put up some nice numbers for the Fighting Indians this year, and to say he doesn’t deserve to play means you aren’t paying attention to his stats. Alex Bryan has played well this year too, and also deserves his share of snaps. However, his completion percentage and TDs are well below Fennell’s this year.

7) Is Coggin an arrogant one-man band? Does he not communicate well with his players and coaches?

Gary Coggin is as self-depreciating of a man as you will find. He’s a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy who knows he’s just a regular guy from Alabama who loves football. He may be old fashioned, but he’s never arrogant. He’s cautious of every opponent and he prepares his team hard with the help of his excellent staff. For a guy who supposedly doesn’t communicate well with his staff or coaches, he’s been pretty successful.

8) Here’s an idea, next year – when we play Okeechobee or the Florida Girls Academy, or whoever else we schedule early in the year – when we’re up 30-0 at halftime, how about we go ahead and step on their throats a bit? It was clear after the first quarter there was no chance of us losing. Why not open it up a little? Grow a pair and coach, so you can put the kids in position to win big games late in the year.

Where do I start with this one? Well 12th man, why don’t you grow a pair and ask this question to Coggin and his staff yourself? Thank goodness for you that these men are too classy to put you in your place. Similarly, Coggin and his staff are too classy to run up the score on a defenseless opponent like Okeechobee. VBHS uses the Kickoff Classic to test plays out in certain situations for several reasons. They know SRHS is a quality opponent, so trying to open up the offense on them is a real test-not a false test like it would be with Okeechobee. What will you prove if you put up 400 yards passing on that team? That you are first-class jerk?

9) Don’t you think anyone picking this team to go deep in the playoffs is living in a world of fantasy?

I’m not going to sell this team short, because they are a talented group of hard workers. But I can’t honestly say that this team will advance past the 2nd round of the playoffs. Can we beat a team like Atlantic or Miami Central? Well, anything can happen I guess. Is it likely? Probably not this year, but I like their chances next year. This is a young team that starts only a small handful of seniors. The talent lies in the 2011 class, and that includes: 5/6 of the leading tacklers on the team, the top two leading rushers, and the leading receiver. Next year, this team could have a better defense than Palm Bay has this year.

10) The community was very involved in this program and that support is leaving . . . It’s a bad product on the field. To our players, you deserve so much better. Would it help if I promised to help find a top notch coach to bring Vero football back to a Top 5 program?

The support for VBHS football is leaving? For . . . what? The stands have been full all year, and the people of Vero Beach are hardly fair weather fans.

I agree that the players deserve the best football team that VBHS is capable of putting out onto the field. If you think you can find a coach that could have beaten the TCHS defense last week, then please, find him! I think Bill Walsh is still alive somewhere, feel free to give him a call

And . . . When was VBHS consistently a top 5 program? The mid-1990’s? After you get off the phone with Bill Walsh and Jason Pomar, I’ll give you Josh Smerker’s number too. Stop living in the past!!! You play football with the player you have. I’ve seen two college material QBs this season, and neither of them live anywhere around here.

11) If we don’t evolve as football around the state has, are we condemning the players, school, and community to mediocrity?

Evolution is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? It’s given me my BlackBerry, my laptop, and lots of other cool gadgets that make my life easier. I have a feeling your version of evolution is the spread offense. If you want that kind of evolution, be careful. Ask Michigan and Nebraska fans how the spread offense has worked for these traditionally running schools. It hasn’t. Why not? It’s because they haven’t had the personnel to run them effectively. It’s that simple. You need a QB that is capable of making quick reads with a large dose of athletic talent. Ft. Pierce Westwood runs the spread with some success. They have more offensive talent than VBHS, and I have little doubt about that after seeing them three times this year. They have one WR with a scholarship offer to Louisville, and another who is a junior and getting a lot of interest from schools. Were you at the VBHS-Westwood game? If you were, you saw how the VBHS running attack chewed up the clock and won the game for us.

A 7-1 record isn’t mediocre by anyone’s standards, even in this day and age of instant gratification. How many towns would kill to have a football program like this? Plenty, no doubt. If the community is suffering at 7-1, what is a 3-5 SRHS community doing? Perspective, 12th man, perspective . . .

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