Coach's Corner: Sam Knopik 6/17

Sam Knopik

By Sam Knopik
Posted: June 18, 2010 - 2:44 PM

The Coach’s Corner is a place where several area coaches will give their views on the state of coaching at the high school level.

The Littleville Vikings are a typical group of high school footballers. They compete in a storied league of which they have won every so often. Their kids are like most around the state; hard-working, lazy, insecure, cocky, talented, and very bad. As a group they remind us that football is worth playing because it may just be that last bastion of why our country is so great: everyone has a role.

Football games are never decided without the multi-faceted nature of many players, coaches’ decisions, officials’ calls, and weather patterns. The games in and of themselves are really just for the alumni, yearbooks and newspapers.

Anyone who has climbed to the mountain top and been enlightened by the Gridiron Guru knows that the destination is not as influential as the journey. Littleville’s players, coaches and community give us a reflection of the game at its best and at its worst.

Defensive backs coach, The Fall Guy, has been with the team since he came home from college 7-years ago. Apparently the new college coaching staff did not have a place for his talents: Madden Football and Halo 3. Head Coach Krusty needed some help that year and the Fall Guy had been a regional all-star selection back in his day and that made him qualified.

The Fall Guy is the coach who reminds us all of Uncle Rico. His playing days were the “best” his school has ever seen. A coach should feel very privileged to ever have The Fall Guy on your staff. Never mind that he may not be able to make it to the next staff meeting because he has a fishing tournament this weekend but no worries-- The Fall Guy knows what the practice plan is.

Position segment drills this week will include berating the players how much they suck because they lost to the Bobcats last week. Of course, when he played they never lost to the Bobcats. If there was one thing you never did in Littleville it was lose to the Bobcats.

The Fall Guy gets his moniker from the fact that he is only around in the fall. Sometimes he makes it to the winter clinic at the big hotel so the defensive coordinator, Coach Smart can buy him a few rounds at the social.

He’ll make an appearance in the weight room at some point in the spring, usually around the time the staff is ordering next year’s coaching polos. However, for the most part you can count on him being ready for two-a-days.

Watching the Fall Guy operate a practice field is poetry in motion. After segment drills are completed to the satisfaction of his ego, the Fall Guy will use team period to gather among a group of young, impressionable types who may be standing on the fringe of the drill. Undoubtedly, he is telling a dirty joke. He has mastered the ability to bounce a football back to himself and earns the amazed fascination of the freshmen quarterbacks. A quick trip over to the water cow where he squirts a few unsuspecting timid linemen in the crotch and he is ready for his spotlight: Conditioning Period!

As the team concludes practice with a series of sprint drills, led by the Fall Guy, he challenges the manhood of the best player who he determines was slacking on his 13th 40-yard dash of the evening. The fate of each man’s dignity shall now be decided with one 40-yard sprint after practice.

The team members think this is a great bonding moment to watch, the younger players all want their buddy, Coach Fall Guy to win, while the older players hope he blows out his Achilles after 30-yards. So, Littleville’s leading scorer, Tommy Touchdown, lines up to run one more sprint before he goes home to eat dinner, call Jenny, and hopefully crack his Algebra book. The team begins to clap in unison chanting the name of their hopeful.

Coach Coacher begins the cadence. Invariably, the Fall Guy anticipates the snap by a hair. Nobody of course says anything though because everyone really just wants to go home and so rather than prolong and embarrass the Fall Guy they let him have his half-second head start. Tommy, hesitates a moment before digging in to his sprint. Where was the whistle? He assumed they were going to back up 5-more yards for the offsides infraction… Crap! Coach Fall Guy is two steps ahead. His short choppy steps are rapid and wild…

Tommy is determined to win this race because, well… that’s what kids like Tommy do, they win things. At 25-yards Tommy starts to close the gap. His long strides and fluid arm swings contrast the Fall Guy’s contorted facial expressions and heavy pumping of elbows and breath.

30-yard line. Was that a grunt or did Coach Fall Guy just fart?

Tommy glides through the finish to the cheers of his buddies and the chuckling of Head Coach Krusty. The Fall Guy bellows for a tie… No matter, Fall Guy knows he is 4-0 against the Bobcats and nobody ain’t never gonna take that away from him!

Sam Knopik is the head football coach at Pembroke Hill.