Last winter I was watching some high school football players from the Toledo area working out at a Mike Robinson camp. Think that it was in February. Not alot of players, but they were being coached by members of Mike's staff. While I was watching, Jerry Bell stopped by to be sure everything was going right. That began my communication with the new head football coach at Toledo Whitmer, Jerry Bell.
At the time, I remember thinking to myself, "You have a big job ahead of you." You see, through transfers, move-ns, and home ground talent, Whitmer was loaded last year. I mean, they had excellent high school players, with one going to Nebraska and one to Michigan and one to Michigan State. Their top RB had grade issues, but was one of the top RB's in the state. Whitmer also had a junior WR whom I considered one of the best in the Class of 2013, but he chose to concentrate on basketball this year and forego football.. Unbelievable talent, but got out coached against St Ignatius in the state semi-finals and missed playing in the State Championship Game.
Then head coach Joe Palko moved on to Saline, MI to gide their football program.
Toledo Whitmer made an excellent decision in selecting their new head football coach. They "stayed inside" and selected Jerry Bell, a junior high social studies at Jefferson Junior High in the Whitmer system. Jerry had coached the offensive line at Whitmer for the last ten years. In comparing personality and appearance, Brady Hoke and Jerry are in the same mold, while Joe Palko and Lane Kiffin would be in the same mold. Coached Bell talked to me more that night, than Palko talked with me over five years. Of course, that is unless he wanted something.
Bell is on the way to finishing the "big job" that I thought was ahead of him. This Saturday night Whitmer plays Cincinnati Moeller for the Division One Ohio High School State Championship. Whitmer went through the season without losing a game. Their QB Nick Holley played behind the coach's son last season, but has been the "truth" this year. Gone are the seniors from last year's team. Honestly, they may have two pre-season D-1 recruits this year, as compared to six or seven last year. A total team effort with alot of disciplined, confident, and well coached high school players will be needed to beat Moeller.
Jerry Bell deserves every post season honor that he gets this year. I talk to him over the cell occasionally and have spoken with him before the three games that I have attended this fall. Whitmer football will be in good hands with him promoting his players and leading a very sound program. The Whitmer Board of Education made the right decision by staying "in house."