With spring practice about to begin, new Corona del Sol football coach Cory Nenaber paused for a few minutes this week to talk about the move from Maricopa back to his alma mater, changes, and a few rules he wishes were adopted.
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge so far after three months on the job?
A: Just trying to get to know the kids on a personal level, who they are and where they’re from. We’re trying to get the kids excited about playing at Corona is the biggest thing.
Q: Can you gauge your numbers of kids coming in?
A: Just based on the numbers kids were doing other things. It’s going to be tough, but it’s also going to be fun and try and create memories and experiences to remember for the rest of their lives. It still has to be fun.
Q: What will your new staff and philosophies on the field look like?
A: Defensively, we’ll be a four-front team but we’ll need to adapt, especially in high school where you see the spread and Wing-T from one week to the next. We want them to not have to think as much as possible and keep things lined up correctly and play fast. We’ll be a pro-style offense with different formations, but that’s still determined based on our skill level and that’s what I want to see from them and see what we have the next two weeks beginning Monday. We have a lot of former Corona players on staff at all levels, so a bunch of guys who’ve been around and know what it’s about. Even (former quarterback) Gavin Rodriguez is coming back to help volunteer and work with some of the guys, which is good. They’re excited to be back.
Q: Outside of the talent and whatever you can judge from that, what else do you want to see from the kids in spring ball?
A: The big thing is to create a culture we want in practice, on the field, off the field, the weight room, what we’ll adopt is by far the biggest things. We’ll implement terms and all that, but the No. 1 thing is establishing a culture we want for the program.
Q: What’s the kids, parents and community feedback been so far in your few months?
A: It’s been pretty positive. Our numbers are up, and by the time spring sports are over, we’re looking at 110 kids at spring football, which is good considering some past numbers. Kids and community seem excited for the future and great things are happening all over the school with track and field, baseball, we just became an A+ school. I’m excited to be a part of it and a lot of guys are former Corona guys who want to be a part of it. It’s going to be pretty exciting.
Q: An in-game rule change you’d make if it were up to you?
A: It’s a rule which isn’t enforced, but (linebackers and defensive backs) the defense is being allowed to cut offensive blockers or lineman down field, but offensive guys can’t do it. If defenders are doing it, offensive guys should be able to do it. It’s technically illegal, but never called.
Q: An off-the-field rule you’d change?
A: There’s so many ways people are getting around all-year practicing. If we’re going to do it then everyone should be doing it. They call them ‘camps’ and technically not affiliated with the high school, but it’s a middle school or youth football and everyone knows there’s a loose affiliation there. It’s often ‘recruiting’ whether on or off campus. It’s happening out there and let’s try and regulate it somehow. I don’t know how, that’s a great question, and with open enrollment that’s never going to go away. We have to put out a good product as coaches, and that’s a good thing, but it’s ‘friends of the program’ who aren’t directly related, but sort of still, are talking with and sometimes persuading families and kids one direction or another. We had kids in Maricopa being picked up by other schools and bused elsewhere, and it’s hard to fight that, but it’s going on.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune assistant managing editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.