I talked with Cary-Grove head coach Brad Seaburg about his coaching experience, the triple option and about some quality Cary-Grove players that are being overlooked by college scouts.
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LPI: Can you give our readers a little background on you? Where did you play football at and how long have you been coaching at Cary-Grove?
BS: I played high school ball at Marengo high school then at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. After I graduated I got a job at Cary-Grove in 2001 and have been here ever since. I worked for Bruce Kay for 10 years until I took over as head coach in 2011. From 2004-2009 our record was 64-6 with that culminating in a state championship in 2009. When Bruce retired at the end of the 2010 season, the expectations were very high and continue to be very high here at Cary-Grove.
LPI: What is your ultimate goal in coaching or what keeps you coming back everyday to coach football?
BS: I think it’s a pretty standard answer and that’s the kids. We are with kids in a transition phase in their life and it’s our job to help mold them into young men. For a lot of our kids, during the fall, they’re around my staff and I more than they are with their parents. The kids also have that drive to come in and get better everyday and work towards a common goal, and that’s what really motivates me as a coach. To be a part of their collective experience with high school football is very rewarding.
LPI: What have you and your team been doing to get ready for this season?
BS: Ever since last December, we have been getting at it. Everything we do here is about trying to create and find leaders. We are on a continual quest seeking leaders. We’re trying to find leaders to step up, lead our team, and become guys that we know we can count on who can help us win ball games. Every school in the state of Illinois lifts weights. Every school has open gyms in the offseason. So, with that in mind, we’re trying to do the extra things that the other teams aren’t doing so we can come in ready to execute our offense and defense at a high level.
LPI: The triple option is a very unique offensive style. How long has Cary-Grove been running it and why do you think it is so effective?
BS: Cary-Grove has been running a downhill, under center style of offense pretty much since the inception of the school. Bruce Kay (class of ‘72) was the quarterback on our first conference championship team, and they ran a similar offense even back then. When he took over as coach, he brought that mentality and that game back to Cary-Grove. In 2004 we went all in with what you see the academies running in the triple option and have kept it ever since.
So many teams are not under center anymore and are not playing the style of football that we play. Most of the defenses are focusing their energy on defending the spread and open offenses so we feel it gives us an advantage with other teams having only a week to prepare for our offense. Our defense also benefits because we play with the same physical mentality on defense as well. The special thing about the triple option is that everyone has to buy into it and it’s an entire team effort. Everybody down to our junior level embraces it, keeps it going, and it just builds that team camaraderie even more.
LPI: On or off the field, what are the most important lessons that you try to teach your athletes?
BS: Football naturally teaches kids the value of hard work, strong work ethic, and life lessons for when they’re adults. Football teaches you that even if you wake up sick or tired in the morning, you have to get up and go because your teammates are doing the same for you. It’s a great to instill that in the kids.
That value of consistency is also huge. People want to know what they’re going to get out of you in life so, we always stress that consistency. Whenever a kid is always getting his homework in on time or hitting the weight room for that extra lift, we know that his teammates will see that and do the same.
LPI: Cary-Grove finished really well last year at 8-1, but lost to eventual state champion Glenbard West. How are the Trojans going to make another deep run in the playoffs?
BS: Our goal every year is to play at a high level and play well enough to make another deep run into a state playoffs. Our approach has had success over the years so we’re not drastically changing anything this year.
LPI: Tell me about some guys on your roster that you believe are quality recruits, but are for whatever reason, flying under the radar a bit in terms of recruiting.
BS: We perennially have kids who fly under the radar that don’t meet the division 1 mold. We still find ways to win with these young men. We are fortunate to have kids who buy into our program and compete everyday. Tyler Pennington is a good example of that. He is an exceptional football player, great kid, great student, high ACT, but unfortunately schools are missing out on an outstanding player like Tyler because of his height, and his position of FB that is becoming extinct in college football. He’s physical, mature and is one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached.
Another kid who could potentially play D1 football is Colton Ruhland. Colton is our center and he is 6’1” 240. He’s a mean, nasty, aggressive kid and is very smart. Another kid is Addison West. Addison is 6’2” 250 and plays OL. He has very good feet and is quickly learning to play at a high level. Addison has a very high ceiling and I would be very surprised if he isn’t playing on Saturdays in a few years.
LPI: What team do you have circled on your calendar this year?
BS: We really take it one game at a time. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and just want to play football. We are really looking forward to our first game. They’re a lot like us with 1 loss in the 2015 regular season, losing in the state semi-finals and having a lot of kids back this year.