Fall 2014: Cougars poised to 'change' recent past, eye fresh start
By Ed Wisneski
Originally Published: August 29, 2014 6 a.m.
As a longtime history teacher, new Chino Valley football coach Wade Krug likely knows the famous warning from author/philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."That's one reason the operative word during the Cougars' preseason has been "change." Krug has stressed to the players that to be successful, they have to approach things differently from what they did the past three years when the team finished with records of 3-7 (1-5 in Division 4, Section 4), 1-9, and 3-7. The handful of seniors and 20 juniors on the 2014 roster played on some of those losing teams."We're working with them to change their habits in areas like work ethic, finishing things, and commitment," says Krug, who has 14 years' experience as a high school assistant coach, including both offensive and defensive coordinator at Division 2 Gila Ridge High in Yuma."We are really emphasizing the team concept. We praise them as a team, not as individuals. I've been pleased with their enthusiasm and their willingness to do what their coaches ask. They're out there having fun."" target="_blank"> First-year Chino Valley coach Wade Krug works to right the Cougars' shipAll of the Cougars' "skilled" players will start both ways, except at quarterback where junior Jake Clausen and senior Bud Cain are battling for the top spot. Clausen saw the majority of action last season when he threw for 644 yards, including five scoring strikes, and ran for a team-high four touchdowns."They have shared reps in preseason," Krug says. "They're both good throwers. Jake's strength is his athleticism. Bud is a competitor. He wants to go out with a good senior season."If Clausen gets the starting nod, Cain will line up at defensive end with the first unit. If Cain breaks the first huddle on offense, Clausen will see action as a reserve outside linebacker.The Cougars will rely heavily on a trio of two-way starters at running back and linebacker - sophomore Blaine Goodman and juniors Michael Brillhart and Jared Chavez - as the core group in the flexbone option offense that emphasizes the ground game and a 4-4/4-2-5 defense that Krug feels will be the team's strength.Goodman - "a bruiser, pound-it-inside type runner," according to Krug - led the team in rushing as a freshman last season with 407 yards. Brillhart averaged 6.8 yards per carry last year and "is hands down the fastest guy on the team," says Krug. Chavez has stepped up as a team leader.When the Cougars throw the ball from a spread offense, starting junior wide receiver-cornerback Brian Skinner will be the top target along with 6-foot 6-inch senior Walker Renizzco, who will start at defensive end, where he's shown skills batting down passes."Walker has been a big surprise so far," Krug says. "He worked on a ranch this summer and came back ready to play. He has improved his hands. He's going to have an effect on lots of opposing teams because of his size."Krug plans for the linemen to specialize in one position. Senior three-year starting tackle Thomas Gianfrancesco (5-11, 215), junior tackle Eduardo Sotelo (6-2, 260), and junior guard Antonio Sanchez (5-7, 243) form the nucleus on offense." target="_blank">New Chino Valley football coach brings 'old school' approach"Antonio is the leader of our offensive line," Krug says. "He shores up the line and makes sure everyone knows what's going on."Perhaps the best example of the "can-do spirit" Krug is instilling in his team is junior starting defensive tackle Juan Sanchez, who, at only 5-3, is 15 inches shorter than Renizzco, the defensive end playing next to him. "Juan is constantly in motion," Krug says. "He won't stop."That's the type of effort Krug will be looking for in the Cougars' season opener tonight at Camp Verde.