Friday, August 20, 2010

Training camp report No. 6: Christian Brothers Academy

COLONIE -- There has been an inescapable car commercial on television for the past few months. A high school-age kid is in his driveway playing basketball as his mother pulls out of the driveway. She can't understand how her "new" car already has 29,000 miles on it. The car, of course, was "pre-owned."

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."

Joe Burke, in his first year as the head coach at Christian Brothers Academy, has a word with his team following a recent practice. (Photo by Mike McMahon - The Record).
Joe Burke is hoping to turn the CBA football program around from a 2-7 finish in 2009 under then-head coach Matt Gormley. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).


Logan Frese is one of many returning starters for the CBA football team in 2010. A two-way tackle, Frese is fully healthy and expects to play a larger role on the defensive line this season.

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."

Trey Williams (left) and Carter Sherman (right) will team up in the Brothers' backfield in 2010 and will try to replace Jack Reilly, who served as CBA's punishing ballcarrier in 2009.

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."






















Ras-I Grady (left) and Max Weaver (right) are two of the key returning seniors on the 2010 CBA football team. Grady, a two-way lineman, and Weaver, a wide receiver and defensive back, are looking to carry the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Christian Brothers Academy playbook
COACH: Joe Burke
2009 RECORD: 2-7
NICKNAME: Brothers
OFFENSE: Split back veer
DEFENSE: 5-2
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*
*Crossover games
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.


CBA football players get ready to conclude a post-practice talk with head coach Joe Burke. (Photo by Mike McMahon - The Record).


--
Keep checking back on the blog for a training camp report posted every day between now and opening day of the high school football season on Thursday, Sept. 2. The schools will be posted in no particular order, so please be patient if you don't see your school right away.

Also keep your eyes open for our 48-page preview section - Kickoff 2010 - which hits the newsstands inside The Record on Thursday, Sept. 2.

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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