DiRienzo's Indians set for LM
COAL TOWNSHIP - After almost two decades around the Shamokin Area football program as an assistant coach, Pat DiRienzo unveils his look for the Indians as a head coach tonight.
Win or lose against Line Mountain, the game will have his stamp on it.
With five head coaches since 2006, Shamokin players, not to mention assistant coaches, have had to adjust to many head coaching styles over the years. DiRienzo, at a recent practice session, was definitely running the show, but with one caveat - when it came time to do certain things, he handed the reins over to assistants.
"After 17 years as an assistant, you get a lot of ideas," DiRienzo said. "Some guys want to have their hands on everything, run the offense, the defense, everything. I believe in delegating resposibilities. I don't think it's a good thing to have one or two coaches doing everything and the rest of the guys standing around talking. If they are talking, I hope it's about the game plan.
"I'm doing things now the way I would have done them had I been the head coach."
DiRienzo, like most first-year head coaches, has been struck by the additional responsibilities he has now. Struck, but not overwhelmed,
"I knew what was coming so I'm not in any way surprised," he said. "Still, you're never ready for it until you do it."
For example, one of the things he had on his to-do list for the team for Wednesday was getting the locker room cleaned and ready to go for the opener.
"The locker room, equipment, talking to the administration, talking to the media, those are all things a head coach has to take care of that you don't hear about," he said. "Right now, I'm looking at it as fun."
DiRienzo also thinks he's probably going to be as nervous as his players come game day.
"I plan on getting a good night's sleep on Thursday. But I'm not sure how I'm going to feel on Friday morning," he joked.
DiRienzo said the Indians have shown solid improvement through preseason practice and two scrimmages.
"We did fairly well," he said. "Our defense improved from the first scrimmage to the second, especially in pass coverage. We had some problems with the offensive line and started three new guys there the second scrimmage. And we're a little nicked up. (Tailback) Preston Burns got hurt in the first scrimmage and Tom Campbell has a little hamstring problem. Neither of them played in the second scrimmage and we're trying to get them ready for Friday."
Line Mountain presents some interesting problems for the Indians, DiRienzo said. The Eagles are experienced, with eight starters back each way, and big.
"Their offensive line and defensive line both have a lot of experience and we're concerend with their size," he said. "Hopefully, we have some new guys who we can plug in and give our starters a break now and then."
Line Mountain was running a spread offense for most of its scrimmages and working in young skill players, including a freshman quarterback. But the Eagles can always fall back on their dive option, which, if not their primary offense, is something they can use in a pinch.
"We're preparing for the option too," DiRienzo said. "They've also been going no-huddle in their scrimmages. They've also been reading what the defenses are doing and responding. We're going to stay in a basic defense and hope our quickness can neutralize some of their strength."