Battle Ground Football Training Camp
Battle Ground Tigers
Coach Larry Peck
No one-position players here:
First-year head coach Larry Peck has made it clear to his players that none of them should think specialization on the football field. If one thinks he is just a wide receiver, think again. If one thinks he is just a linebacker, think again.
“Gone are the days when you were a specialist. You’re a football player,” Peck tells the Tigers.
Even the most specialized of positions — the quarterback — cannot expect to only be a quarterback.
Senior quarterback Chris Paul, for example, was seen at wide receiver during Tuesday’s practice. He made a good catch on a ball thrown by junior QB Tyler Bergeron, then made a sweet move and would have scored a touchdown had the coach not blown his whistle to huddle up for the next play.
“He’s got great hands and he is such an athlete,” Peck said, referring to Paul.
Bergeron and Paul list themselves as quarterback/wide receiver/defensive back.
The numbers game:
One of the reasons for learning multiple positions is the lack of numbers this season for the Tigers. There were 45 players — sophomores through seniors — on the field Tuesday.
While all associated with program agree that the numbers need to rise in the long-term, the players on this year’s squad are excited about their opportunities. All will be asked to contribute.
“It forces players to step up,” senior offensive lineman/linebacker Ryan Leathers said.
“It makes us tougher,” added senior fullback/linebacker Bo Smith.
“We might not have quantity, but we have quality,” Bergeron said.
Plan for building the numbers:
Peck said he is trying to instill a positive philosophy, a philosophy that starts with him, his assistants, and spreads among the players.
And if the players have a great experience, they will tell their classmates, and perhaps that will bring more athletes to the field in the coming weeks — as school begins — and in the coming years.
After all, 45 players from three classes at a 4A school is very, very low.
“Maybe they felt beaten down,” Peck said, referring to the program’s struggles in recent years.
That won’t happen under Peck. If a coach sees something wrong, the coach is expected to tell the player two things that he is doing well, then correct the mistake.
“They make it a point to be positive,” Leathers said.
Six days into practice, the positive reinforcement has been noticed.
“Everyone is more of a team this year. Coach Peck has brought us together,” Paul said.
“He’s been like a father figure,” Bergeron said. “He seems like he cares about us like his own children.”
The players are taking a cue from the coaches, as well.
“Last year, we had a lot of negativity,” Smith recalled. “This year, we’re not getting down on ourselves.”
“We’re a lot more positive with everybody,” senior running back/wide receiver/defensive back Nohi Brede said. “Everybody’s helping each other out.”
What about the 4A GSHL?
The Tigers all know that not much is expected of them this year in the 4A GSHL, with playoff powers Skyview and Union in the mix, along with Heritage, a team that has made the playoffs three years in a row.
That just makes them more dangerous, they say, because some teams might not prepare for them.
“None of us are out there talking smack,” Bergeron said. “We just want to play.”
Peck enjoys hearing that from his players.
“Nowhere to go but up,” he said. “We like that. That’s going to be our motivating factor. Every week, we’re going to try to be in that spoiler role.”