Training camp report No. 6: Christian Brothers Academy
In a nutshell, that explains the "pre-owned" Joe Burke, Christian Brothers Academy's first-year head coach.
Burke, who starred at Bishop Maginn High School in the late 1970s and is a member of the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame, has nearly 30 years of coaching experience under his belt. A longtime assistant to his former coach at Maginn, Joe Grasso, Burke also had a five-year stint as Albany High's coach in the mid 2000s.
"Anytime you bring your style of running a program, the challenge is, is it different?" Burke asked in between practice sessions on August 17. "And in most cases it is. We're going to run our program the way I've been accustomed to running a program as an assistant and as a head coach in 27 years of coaching. I'm at the point where I'm comfortable with that and we just have to be sure that the kids are comfortable before we play our first game on September 3."
With all of the learning the team is doing during the three short weeks of training camp, Burke is hoping the team can hold its own on defense until the offense catches up.
"There is no doubt we have to play great defense," he said. "It will give us an opportunity to fine-tune our offense. Offense generally takes a little bit longer to get going and when you have a new system the kids are learning, it will give us a couple of weeks to get going if we play good, solid defense. I really think that we have some very athletic kids that we can stretch the field with, either through the air or on the ground."
Senior wideout and defensive back Max Weaver won a New York State Class AA title with the Brothers' basketball team last winter. He also plays baseball in the spring. Still, he's going all in for football this season, hoping some of the success he found on the hardcourt can translate to the gridiron.
"Right now, I'm focusing on football," Weaver said. "I do have goals for the other sports, but right now, it's all football. I've never had a winning season in football, so it would be nice to get that and make the playoffs and make a run."
Burke's new practice strategy has been a bit jarring to the players during the first week of camp - all the learning is done on the field first in an up-tempo environment, classroom work comes later - but the team can see the benefits it will bring in the future.
"It can get frustrating because sometimes you get coach yelling at you, but that's part of the game," Grady said. "That's part of practice. You just have to suck it up and move on."
The Brothers were definitely a downhill running team behind Jack Reilly a season ago, but they're looking to attack the edges this season with speed in the backfield and on the line.
"We have a strong class of juniors coming up that were sophomores last year," said senior running back and strong safety Carter Sherman. "They have a lot of speed and talent and we're looking to use that to our advantage and get around the edge. We have some quick linemen."
"We were definitely a north-to-south team last year and now we can run around the edge," said senior running back and linebacker Trey Williams. "We have faster backs, faster linemen and quarterbacks that can read the option. I think it will be pretty good."
Christian Brothers Academy playbook
COACH: Joe Burke
2009 RECORD: 2-7
OFFENSE: Split back veer
LAST PLAYOFF GAME: 2007
LAST SECTION II TITLE: 2006 (Class AA)
DIVISION: Class AA, Empire
Christian Brothers Academy, 2009 game-by-game results
COLONIE, L 29-20
La Salle, L 34-7
GUILDERLAND, L 22-21
SARATOGA SPRINGS, L 38-7
BALLSTON SPA, L 28-7
Shenendehowa, L 34-0
Albany, W 28-21
Shaker, L 21-0*
Columbia, W 14-6*
Home games in CAPS
Christian Brothers Academy, 2009 stats review
Rushing, Att, Yds., Avg., TDs
Jack Reilly, 102, 736, 7.2, 5
Passing, Comp., Att., Yds., Avg., TDs
Casey Crotty, 32, 76, 356, 11.1, 2
Receiving, No., Yds., Avg., TDs
Max Weaver, 8, 83, 10.4, 0
Scoring, TD, 2-pt, PAT, FG, Tot.
Jack Reilly, 5, 1, 3, 0, 35
Christian Brothers Academy, 2010 schedule
Friday Sept. 3, vs. Columbia, 7 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 11, at Bethlehem, 1:30 p.m.
Friday Sept. 17, at Guilderland, 7 p.m.
Friday Sept. 24, at Saratoga Springs, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 1, vs. Shenendehowa, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 8, vs. Ballston Spa, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 15, vs. Albany, 7 p.m.
CBA’s three keys to the season
1, Play great defense.
2, Master the fundamentals – stances, form tackling, etc.
3, Learn a new playbook on both sides of the ball.
Previous training camp reports:
No. 1, Lansingburgh High School
No. 2, Cohoes High School
No. 3, Watervliet High School
No. 4, Columbia High School
No. 5, Catholic Central High School
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