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August 30, 2012Saturday will mark the first games as a college position coach for offensive line coach Tim Grunhard and tight ends coach Jeff Blasko. For Blasko, it won't be a big difference from how he operated on game day as a quality control coach at Florida. Blasko will be in the booth relaying to Charlie Weis the defensive fronts and coverages.
"At my time in Florida I had a really good understanding of the offensive system and I would talk with the different coaches on staff between series to communicate my thoughts so I don't foresee that being any different here," Blasko said.
The biggest difference will likely be in game week preparation. As a quality control coach Blasko had a more broader role in breaking down opponents film, where as now each assistant coach has a specific assignment. Blasko's role now is focusing on the opposing team's blitz packeges.
For Grunhard, he's making the transition going from a high school head coach to an offensive line coach. Last year at Miege he had to watch on the whole team where as now he can focus on the different defensive alignments and making offensive line adjustments.
"There are always different challenges that you will be nervous about," Grunhard said. "It will be a whole different speed and a whole different set of circumstances. It will be exciting for me."
The entire staff had a crash course last week, as Weis had them operate their daily schedules like it was a game week. Then, on Saturday the team scrimmaged so the coaches could work on their game day operation.
"It gets us into more of game day like atmosphere," DeMontie Cross said. "It's good to have a couple of opportunities to do that especially being a first year staff together.
It also allowed the coaches to work on signaling plays onto the field and relaying information during timeouts. Cross will be one of the coaches on the sidelines, and said while you can see the game unfold better upstairs in the booth, there are some advantages to being close to the players.
"You can look your players in the eye and see who is into it and who is not into it," Cross said. "That atmosphere is completely different from the box."
Position Coaches First Games
We asked some of the other KU coaches what they remembered about their first games as a college position coach.
DeMontie Cross: I was a secondary coach with Sam Houston State and we went up against Louisiana Lafayette which was a Division I team and were a Division I-AA team at the time and we won on the road. There was nothing like it because those kids had wanted to be Division I players all there lives and went down there and beat a Division I team. The bus ride home and the thrill for those kids in my first game, I will never forget it.
Buddy Wyatt: It was back in 1992. I was at Minnesota and we were playing Northern Illinois. It was a long time ago and they all start blending together but you always remember the first one. What I remember was how fast the tempo was. "
Clint Bowen: "It was 2000 or 2001 and I was the tight ends and special teams coach. I remember the biggest thing being nervous about the special teams. It was surprising we got through the first game without any miscues on special teams at all."
"It's always a little more hectic. Your name is on something. Everyone reads the media guide and knows what you're accountable for."