Lots of excitement for 1st-year coaches at Derry, Latrobe, Norwin
You don't have to be a high school football player to be excited about the start of the season.
It also was a big day for three first-year coaches: Norwin's Dave Brozeski, Derry's Tim Sweeney and Latrobe's Jason Marucco.
Monday marked the start of their coaching careers. All previously were assistant coaches, but now they are the bosses of their own teams.
“I couldn't sleep,” Brozeski said after a successful first day of practice. “I was up until 3 a.m. I was eager to get the first day of camp started.
“I couldn't wait to hear that first crack of the pads. It's something I looked forward to as an assistant. It's nice to get the season started.”
Brozeski, 39, was the first to reach the Norwin facility at 6 a.m. The rest of his staff followed, and the players were at the stadium for a 7 a.m. meeting. Brozeski and his Knights took the field by 7:30.
“Things went as planned,” said Brozeski, who was an assistant coach for 18 seasons. “We were able to get a lot of things done, and the players knew the schedule.
“The one thing I like is to keep things on schedule. As a teacher, I try to be organized and be ready for changes. We tried to change things up and surprise the players with something different just to keep it exciting.”
Brozeski said while things ran smoothly, there is always room for improvement.
Unlike Brozeski, Sweeney, 46, had a good night's sleep. He arrived at the school at 5:50 a.m.
“I've been in these locker rooms so many times, I don't get involved in the surroundings,” Sweeney said. “The only thing I thought about was the players arriving on time and safely.
“This is all about the players. That's where my focus is. We've been planning for camp for weeks, and things went as expected.”
Sweeney, a 1985 graduate, was a quarterback and defensive back at Derry. He's looking forward to renewing the rivalry with Mt. Pleasant.
“We had some great battles with them,” said Sweeney, who previously coached four years with Ron Polinsky. “Nothing blindsided us. The players are committed to the program, and we showed improvement at practice.”
Marucco said he couldn't ask for a better first day of practice.
He got a good night's sleep and was the first person on the Latrobe campus at 7.
“There is a lot of excitement with the program because we're in our new facility,” said Marucco, a 1991 Latrobe graduate.
Other than dealing with the loss of halfback Alex Hoopes, who injured his knee while running last week, Marucco said the first day went smoothly.
“I was excited,” Marucco said. “I've been fortunate to have worked with some great coaches, and I learned a lot from them. I took a little from them, but ultimately I have to be Jason Marucco.”
Marucco, who was an assistant coach for 18 years, said he will learn a lot about his team Wednesday morning when he conducts the Oklahoma drill.
“I want to see if the players are applying the techniques we taught them,” he said, “and we want to see who's going to compete.”