Welcome to another installment of Friday Night Lights. Every Friday from now until November, we will be posting an interview with a different high school coach. This series will highlight different high school programs around the country, with an attempted focus on high schools that are recruited by Mountain West Conference schools. The hope is that through this journey we all understand a bit about what goes into coaching at the high school level, what teams do similar and different from one another, and also learn more about the teams that recruits are coming from each year.
Granite Hills high school is another high school in California, this time residing in El Cajon, which is inland of San Diego. Last season, the Eagles finished the year 10-3, including a perfect 4-0 record in league play. They made it 3 games into the playoffs before losing a close and hard fought battle to Steele Canyon in a 28-27 contest. Head Coach Kellan Cobbs spoke with us and gave us some insight in order to learn more about the program he has built there.
How would you describe the culture or identify of your program? What do you think might make you unique compared to other schools?
I believe we have built our program on defense and our ability to run the football. We will line up with 2 and 3 tight ends and try and run the ball right at you. Most programs these days don’t use a tight end and if they do it’s usually only 1 guy. I think the fact that we have used a lot of 2 and 3 tight end sets makes us a little different. On the defensive side of the ball we run a 4-2-5 with a lot of different fronts.
What styles of offense and defense do you play? Can you explain how you may or may not put your unique spin on the schemes.
On offense we are multiple. We typically use tight ends in many different ways. Some times they are attached, other times we use them in the back field and sometimes we split them out. We have been a heavy power counter team in the past and love to run out quarterback. We think having him turn around and hand the ball of just makes you play a man down so whenever we can we try and get it back to 11 on 11 football
On defense we run a little different version of the 4-2-5. We use our eagle backer as our adjuster. This allows our kids to line up and play fast without having to check or be thinking about a bunch of different adjustments. Also our front and our secondary get 2 different calls from different coaches. They are divorced from one another. This allows us to do some different things without everyone on our defense having to think.
What are some specific ways your program develops players or helps them improve from freshman to senior year?
We have been blessed to have a principal that values football and athletics. We have a freshmen, JV and varsity level weight training class. This allows us to easily meet with the kids year round. We are able to lift, watch film and work on basic technique in these classes. We also recently started some spring 7 on 7 leagues that we have participated in. This has helped up keep the guys in the program and we have been able to get them work year around. One of thing we have implemented is quarterback class once a week we will meet at lunch and just watch football. Doing this has allowed our kids to see a bunch of different looks and has helped us teach them about basic football concepts.
What’s something about your team/program that not many people know about?
When I took over as head coach we had not won a league championship since 1988 and had not won a playoff game since 1994. It had been a long time since winning was common or expected. In the past 5 years we have made it to 3 semi finals appearances, have won 3 league championships and have done a great job of creating a winning culture that kids on campus are now wanting to be a part of.
How do you as a team balance the current high school season with players being recruited by colleges or how might you help a high school recruit with that process?
The thing I love most about being a head coach is being able to get kids to the next level whatever that level might be. I put more value into that then winning games. Our administration has done a great job of offering cover so I can meet with college coaches during the spring recruiting season. This has helped us as a school get kids in front of coaches.
During the actual season we do not meet as a team on Saturdays or Sundays so this allows our guys to go on visits during the season without them missing any time form our team. I always encourage guys to take at least3 to 4 trips if they have a bunch of offers because they get a true feel for where they want to be or where they don’t want to be.
Who are some of the prominent players from your school who have gone to D1 programs and where have they gone?
- Seth Collins Texas Tech
- Jacob Burton UCLA
- David Gonzalez Utah
- Garrett Curran Boise State
Those have been in the past couple years.
Who are some of your top players this year getting D1 looks or offers?
- Gideon Alaba is a running back/defensive back that has been getting attention from Ivy League school.
We have 4 underclassmen that have been getting looks from D1s as well:
- Junior Zoseph Cuero
- Junior Richard Harris-Williams
- Sophomore Henry Deleon
- Sophomore Justus Mccomb.
Want your team to be part of a future Friday Night Lights series? Contact @Mike_SBN or @MWCConnection on Twitter.