Thursday, August 24, 2000
Steamboat Springs Sights set on opening up their running game this year, the Steamboat Sailors football team is counting on the experience and leadership of offensive line coach Bob Harris to help earn a state playoff berth.
Harris, who retired as an assistant coach in 1995 after working 20 years with head coach Mark Drake, is back coaching the football team with the same hard-nosed mentality that his players have always admired.
Offensive linemen Gaspar Perricone and Jo Jo Bucci can attest to the respect that the players have for Harris. Bucci, for instance, describes Harris as an old-school coach, who still has the fire power left in him to whip any Steamboat football player in a wrestling match. Meanwhile, Perricone points to the character and discipline that Harris brings back to the team.
"I think he does a good job with comradeship and bringing everyone together," said Perricone, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior lineman.
Harris, who moved with wife Billee to Steamboat Springs from Fowler in 1965, retired five years ago from coaching high school football at Steamboat. He continued as principal of Steamboat Springs Middle School, however, and focused solely on coaching junior high sports.
In 1999, Harris retired as principal of Steamboat Springs Middle School.
He decided to come back and help the Sailors learn smash-mouth football at the request of longtime friend, Drake. Harris figures to be a vital element in the Sailors' quest to improve from a 7-3 record last year.
Drake, who's eager to mix in more running plays with his Wing T offense this season, couldn't be happier about having his longtime buddy back to help pave the way for his ground attack.
"Having him back there, you feel confident about what you're doing," Drake said. "We're both a couple of old rednecks at heart, but we get along together fine."
Bucci, a senior lineman who is 5-foot-10, 208 pounds, said practicing for Harris is similar to trench warfare.
"He's mean, hard-core and nasty," Bucci said. "He's been around forever, and he knows the game, too."
Harris' players may see him as a fiery coach who has a no-nonsense attitude on the field, but off the field players and coaches know him more as down-to-earth and easy-going. Drake sees him as a valuable asset to his staff, and also as a great friend.
"Sometimes, there's people you know, and you know them pretty well," Drake said. "But a true friend not many people have. That's the kind of relationship we have."
Harris' goal this pre-season has been to familiarize himself with his lineman and to teach the fundamentals that go along with being a good football player. He said he also has been schooling his players on recognizing their assignments, and adjusting himself to new offensive plays Drake has in the playbook.
The Sailors offensive line brings experience back in Bucci and Jason Wenzlau - a 6-foot-6, 225 pound senior lineman. Perricone, Mike Radford and Steve Mahosky also are key players to watch for, Harris said.
Both the offense and defense are looking ahead to Saturday's scrimmage in Summit County, where they'll be tested against Summit High School and West Grand High School, before opening their season Sept. 1 at home against Middle Park High School.
"I think it's going to be a great season," Harris said. "I think by mid-season we'll feel like we can play with anyone."
To reach Eric Rineer, call 871-4229 or e-mail email@example.com