College of the Siskiyous football coach Charlie Roche says he expects about 130 players for the first day of practice on Aug. 10, including all five starting offensive linemen from last year's team, but no running backs who have ever carried a ball the college level.
Football training camp at College of the Siskiyous begins with a couple days of paperwork on Aug 8, then head coach Charlie Roche expects well over 100 players on the field for the first day of practice Monday, Aug. 10.
Roche said he had 148 potential players on his list early this week but anticipates about 130 when practice starts. Many are returning players from last year’s team that went 7-4 overall and finished with a 35-27 victory over Shasta College in the North State Bowl.
Among the returners is Kaden Culp of Yreka, last year’s starting quarterback before an injury ended his season.
Among the many new players on Roche’s list is Weed High School graduate Rashaan Broomfield, who intercepted two passes and was named MVP in the Lions All Star football game July 18 in Oroville.
Also new to the program is defensive line coach Tim Patterson, who played at Butte College and Chico State and previously coached at Butte and Shasta. He replaces Adam Oreck, who is unable to coach because of a work commitments, Roche said.
The Eagles’ other coaching change brings back quarterback coach John Dutton, who passed for nearly 38,000 yards and 752 touchdowns during an Arena Football League career that included two ArenaBowl championships. Dutton and Roche were assistant coaches together at COS in 2007 and 2008.
Just like last year, the 2015 Eagles open their season against a strong San Mateo team, this time on their home field in Weed Sept. 5.
Roche expects San Mateo to start the season ranked in the top five in the state, and he likes that his team will face “a great test right off the bat.”
He said a 31-3 loss at San Mateo in last year’s opener showed the Eagles what they needed to work on, and they got better as the season progressed.
Getting better later in the season is an Eagle hallmark during Roche’s three seasons as head coach, during which they have an 11-1 record in November, including 2-1 in postseason bowl games.
Overall, the Eagles are 25-8 the past three seasons.
While all five starting offensive linemen from 2014 are returning, Roche said none of the 14 running backs on his pre-season list have ever carried the ball in a college game.
Those starting offensive linemen include Hudson Kennedy, who was first team all-state and all-conference last year, and Byron Hammick and Michael McGuire, who were both honorable mention all-conference.
Other all-conference players returning include cornerback Drakkar Sweet, who led the 2014 Eagles in interceptions, linebacker Kyle Connors, last year’s leading tackler, and tight end Griffin Mclain, another first team all-state pick.
Roche said the Eagles have three returning tight ends, including Cale Backinger, who was all-conference in 2013 then redshirted last year.
Roche expects running back and defensive line to be the most competitive positions during training camp.
He praised Kaden Culp for the hard work he put in during the offseason.
Roche sees Broomfield as an outstanding athlete who “has the tools to work with and a chance to do a lot of good things here.”
It can take time for kids who played high school football locally to develop, Roche said, using former Eagle and Mount Shasta Bear Patrick Lunney as an example of that.
Lunney set a new Northern Section record for high school career rushing yards at Mount Shasta, then redshirted his first year at COS.
“He had to get stronger, among other things,” Roche said of that first year.
Lunney then played the next two years and ended up becoming the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher.