New ConVal football coach has Cougars off to running start

  • ConVal's new head football coach Rob Clauss works with Springfield College coaches to install the flexbone offense in advance of the fall season. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal's new head football coach Rob Clauss brought in coaches from Springfield College to install the flexbone offense in advance of the fall season. Above, Austin Davis takes a handoff from Tristan Hutchinson. Below: Clauss. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Furthering the ConVal football program includes making sure the middle school team is learning the same gameplan they’ll use in high school. Here, Sam Davis takes a handoff from Owen Gershfield as they practice an option play out of the flexbone. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • ConVal's new head football coach Rob Clauss works with Springfield College coaches to install the flexbone offense in advance of the fall season. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • ConVal's new head football coach Rob Clauss works with Springfield College coaches to install the flexbone offense in advance of the fall season. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/17/2019 2:43:21 PM

New ConVal head football coach Rob Clauss has his Cougars off to a running start this summer.

At this point last year, ConVal had yet to even officially hire a head football coach; come September, the Cougars were behind their competition in the preparation department and on their way to a 1-8 season and a midseason coaching change.

This summer is different. Clauss was hired in April; he immediately started a weight room program for the team, hosted a player development camp in June, and this week, brought in Springfield College coaches to help install the Cougars’ new flexbone offense.

“It gives us a chance to get the terminology, get the footsteps exactly right,” Clauss said Tuesday morning. “It’s very regimented – if you’re going to run it, you’ve got to run it correctly.”

The Cougars appear to be picking it up quickly. On Tuesday, quarterback Tristan Hutchinson worked through drills with fullback Austin Davis and Springfield offensive coordinator Greg Webster, learning how and when to pitch, hand off, or keep the ball in the triple-option offense. Elsewhere on the field, about 20 other players from the middle and high school worked through positional drills of their own.

With any luck, Clauss and the Cougars can roll out an offense this fall that is unique in the state of New Hampshire, favoring the option run as other programs drift toward the spread gun offense.

This week’s camps not only work to get the varsity team up to speed, but also help instill some continuity at all levels, as middle schoolers ran through the flexbone as well.

“One of the things we’ve started is that the middle school will run the same offense as the high school,” Clauss said. “It’s Billy Ball, it’s how you do it in Exeter, from when you’re seven years old you’ve been running the same offense. It saves you a lot of time when you get to high school.”

Clauss played his high school football in New York and played at Gettysburg for college. The Nashua South teacher was assistant at South and then Alvirne before taking last season off to enjoy his son Jesse’s senior year playing football at Bentley.

“I’ve learned to build a program the right way,” Clauss said. There’s plenty of building to be done at ConVal, where the Cougars were on the cusp of the postseason just two years ago before the departure of head coach Paul Landau but returned to the doldrums under shortlived head man Ray Puglisi.

“Coming into this situation, there was a lot of healing that had to happen,” Clauss said. “[The program] was broken. There had to be new trust, there had to be new buy-in, and you had to really work at it a little piece at a time to get this to be a successful program – and it’s there. There’s athletes here, they were just turned off to football and we had to find a way to reach them and say ‘Hey, there’s a new guy, there’s a new philosophy, this is an ‘us’ team, not a ‘me’ team,’...That’s what has to change, the mentality – are you wiling to do something for your team to get better that might not be the best thing for you, but it’s the best thing for the team? When you get kids that start to buy into that, that’s when you’re changing things.”

Clauss said he’s “cautiously optimistic,” but that he sees the team buying in already this summer. The Cougars have been playing 7-on-7 against teams like Merrimack, Souhegan and Goffstown and showing spirit, camaraderie and the ability to compete, Clauss said.

“That’s a lot to be said for a team that’s coming off a 1-8 season to go and actually compete against some of the best teams and be able to hold your own,” Clauss said.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2019 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy