1- 7-3 for most teams would be a very good season but at West Sioux, some might say it was just an alright year. With that in mind, what must your team get better at to make it back to the Uni Dome?
We look at the 3 losses as opportunities to grow. We knew we were going to be young this year starting only three seniors and six sophomores so the goal was to get better every day with our young guys. Sometimes you just lose to teams that are better than you and in two of our losses that were the case. One of our losses was to the eventual state runner up a class up from us and another was to the eventual state champion in our class in the state quarterfinals. Honestly, those two teams were just better than us at that point in the season but we use losses to find the “chinks in our armor”. An example would be our overtime loss to Emmetsburg during the regular season. We learned from the first loss and were able to fix our mistakes and avenge the loss fairly easily in the playoffs. Preparing for next year those 3 losses have kept our young guys grounded and hungry in the off-season. They are working hard in the weight room to make sure we get back to the Dome and meet the goals that we have set for West Sioux football. I know going forward that those losses will in the long run makes us a better team.
2- Being from Ohio I have only got to see twenty-four games from Iowa. What sticks out the most to me is how fundamentally sound the teams are. As a coach how much is that instilled into the kids during practice.
I think Iowa has a lot of really good coaches. The old adage that iron sharpens iron holds true in Iowa. We have some really quality teams in Iowa and if you don’t constantly up your game you are going to get eaten alive. We are constantly stressing the importance of the little things. You can have the fanciest spread offense and defense but it still comes down to the fundamentals of blocking and tackling For being a small district in a small state we have had kids who have excelled at the next level so hopefully, we are building a good fundamental base for them to succeed.
3-Could you tell the readers how the playoffs are done in Iowa?
They are in the process of revamping the playoffs in Iowa. They tried an RPI system for a couple of years which I personally wasn’t a fan of. It used your wins and losses and the wins and losses of your opponents to determine your RPI. It was far from a perfect system. One of the years we won state we were 9th in RPI so if only 8 teams would have been in the playoffs we would have been left out. Like I said I think they are changing the system so hopefully, they are coming up with something different but we currently don’t know what that is yet.
4- Do you feel private schools have a big advantage over public schools? In Ohio, this debate never stops being talked about, so it will be nice to see thoughts on this from another state.
Wow. Trying to get me in trouble with this question. Do I think that there are advantages in a private setting? Yes. However, I don’t believe that is enough to warrant a separate class or even a multiplier. In Iowa, they talked about having a multiplier depending on the percentage of your students who receive free and reduced lunches. I was interviewed for a newspaper article about how I felt about this considering our school is well over 50% free and reduced and would almost surely drop us a class. I am fundamentally against it. I tell my players all the time that the amount of money in your bank account has no bearing on your work ethic or your character. I feel that private schools have an advantage because in many cases they have a more stable home environment. As coaches at West Sioux, we need to find a way to try and engage kids and their parents in the same way as they do in the private schools. The funding for camps and other ancillary things aren’t always available so we need to try and be more creative and diligent in our fundraising efforts and off-season preparation. A lot of people want to point fingers and scream that private schools have an unfair advantage because of resources. I try to use it as motivation for our kids. I tell them that the weight room is the great equalizer. We tell our kids that the “sacred acre” could care less about your bank account but judges you on your work ethic, integrity, discipline, and the desire in your heart. We are all equals when we step on the field and the game judges us by the aforementioned attributes and nothing else. We play by the rules given to us and we don’t want our kids to ever make excuses. It’s not where you start in this world but where you end.
5- As a coach what has been your sweetest win as well as your most bitter loss?
Our sweetest win was probably our first state championship. Our school had never won state before so it was awesome celebrating that accomplishment with the entire town. My most bitter loss came in 2014 when we were undefeated and ranked #1 and lost to a team in the playoffs that we had beat earlier in the year handily. I will take that one to the grave with me because I feel as a coach I didn’t have us prepared well enough. Never a good feeling for a head coach when you feel you let your kids down. A reminder to me each year that I don’t ever want to feel that way again.
6- For you as a coach what was the hardest part as far as last season and Covid went?
Thankfully we played in Iowa where in my opinion there was some common sense about Covid. So our day-to-day wasn’t that challenging as we were in regular classes etc. Our school nurse was fantastic to deal with as she kept me abreast about everything. The hardest part was trying to prepare for a game and then not knowing if one of your kids was going to be out due to contact tracing because he decided to kiss some girl who got tested for Covid the next day. Boys will be boys.
7- What is the one rule you think should be changed in high school football?
They haven’t changed it yet but in Iowa, the officials look the other way when there is “dumping” by the QB. We hold a bunch of individual and team passing records in Iowa so for me to say that I am probably crazy but I still feel that is you are going to throw the ball you should have to risk the sack. That being said I don’t think holding should be a spot foul plus ten either. That’s a backbreaker for most high school offenses.
8- Who is the one coach, if there is one that you most enjoy going up against?
Jay Rozeboom from West Lyon. First, because I have a lot of respect for what he has done with his program. Secondly, because I think he is one of the best around and to be the best you need to beat the best.
9- There is enough time to run one play. It’s fourth and goal from the three and you are down four. What play do you call?
For us, that would probably be Shallow Cross with our Slots and a Slant Bubble Combo with our Outside Receiver and the RB. We also have a Rub RPO where the QB sprints out and has the option to throw a Rub combo out of a tight bunch set or run it.
10- Who is the best player ever that you have coached?
I have coached a lot of great players so I will plead the fifth on this one. It’s like asking me to choose which one of my kids I love the most.