Friday, October 23, 2009

The Fight in the Dog

Former O-State football coach, John Cooper once told me, " It is not the size of the dog, but amount of fight in the dog." No more evident than as I watched Parma Normandy host Garfield Heights last night. Jake Suirek, 5'10-200, senior running back from Normandy has a lot of fight and determination. However, this has not caught on with the college recruiters.

Read about Jake's exploits during his sophomore and junior years, but for some reason I could never get any contact information on him. Last night, I made the trip to Cleveland to see him first hand.

Strong, second effort runner with solid speed. Deceptive quickness to get to the edge. Tough runner after initial contact. Good balance. Scored on short runs of 6 and 15 yards. Coming off an injury, so his DB time was limited. Though at times last night he was showing some of the rust from a tough season. I watched his highlight from last season. Although this year's OL is good, it may not be quite as good as last year's. All things considered there is a lot of fight in this old dog.

Also made the chance to meet Jake's parents. His dad is from Cleveland and played for the Oakland Raiders back in the day. A class guy who "has been there" and understands his son's strengths and weaknesses. Mom is a "football player's mom." Like many mom's, she does not understand the recruiting process, but is proud of her son. Tremendous mom, as well as a person.!

I wish there was a way that we could educate all parents and prospects about recruiting. I mean insert the "like it is," and "it is what it is," statements. Be realistic. Do not sugar coat everything. Jake's parents are learning like everyboddy else. With all of the media hype and pressure on college coaches, recruiting can turn into an ugly business. When I tell them that, parents just smile. Months later for some, those smiles have turnd into frustration. But things usually workout.

During my coaching and teaching days, I would say, "If the truth is negative, then sometimes I am negative." Hopefully, people do not consider me a negative person. I try to be brutally honest.

Honestly, I cannot say for sure what level Jake can play. Maybe not a big time D1 guy, but in the right situation, maybe he is a scholarship guy. I can say, however, that he has had a wonderful career, is raised by very good parents, and will play at the next level. Along the way, the Squireks have learned alot about the football recruiting process. Warts and all.

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