Saturday, August 1, 2009

New coach, New Offense has given Coyotes new hope

Football countdown 2009: No. 30 Tornillo
By Lenny Jurado / El Paso Times
Posted: 07/28/2009 11:11:02 PM MDT

EL PASO -- Jesus Escobedo and his teammates on the Tornillo football team vow not to repeat last year's dismal season.

"Certainly, we won't go 0-10 because we've been working hard and busting our butts," Escobedo, a senior, said. "We've united as a family."

There also is a new head of the table, former team defensive coordinator Don Tillson.

So it's with new leadership and vigor that the Coyotes venture into the 2009 season, hoping to surprise people and build a tradition along the way.

Step 1 began in the off-season.

"This off-season we had with the new coach is nothing compared to the years before that," senior Danny Garcia said. "The off-season was different. We had to adjust because we weren't used to all the weight lifting and running."

This season, Tornillo looks to field 35 players combined for both junior varsity and varsity, Tillson said. The Coyotes had 25 athletes and no JV last year.

Eleven lettermen return, and the group is led by Escobedo (5-foot-10, 175 pounds), a tight end and linebacker, and Garcia (5-9, 185), a running back and linebacker. Both were All-District 4-3A picks in 2008.

One change fans can expect to see is different offensive and defensive schemes.

"We're going to run the single wing offense, which is designed to run the clock," Tillson said. "We're going to just run the football, try to keep the ball out of the other team's hands and give us an opportunity for good angle blocks. We're going to be deceptive in the backfield, and that will help us level the playing field, hopefully.
"Defensively, we're going to run a variation of the four-down split, and that will vary depending on what offense we'll be facing."

Iron-man football has been the norm for Tornillo, but Tillson plans to platoon as much as possible.

So far, the players have welcomed the changes, as well as their new coach.

"He's been trying to prove what he's been telling us," Escobedo said. "He's trying to make it happen. He's not all talk."

Tillson, Tornillo's third head coach in as many years, previously has coached at North Dallas, Irving and Nimitz -- all Class 5A high schools.

He realizes the challenge ahead, and although he can't promise X-number of wins, he does see improvement on the horizon.

More than anything, though, Tillson said the goal is to help mold the boys into productive student-athletes.

"The most important thing I can do is try to get them to graduate, help them do the right thing, (instill) a hard work ethic, not taking shortcuts, and hey, if they become better citizens, better fathers, better (soldiers), better teachers and coaches ... that's our job. And as we teach that, winning will take care of itself."

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