Tuesday June 25, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Give it to the fullback, pitch it to the halfback, or run it yourself.

Those are now the three options for quarterbacks on the Brattleboro Union High School football team.

John Callahan, who was introduced to the triple option offense at a Bear Bryant clinic in 1982, was recently named the new head coach of the Colonels. He has already run three days of spring practice with the team, which gave him a chance to teach his players the new attack.

"The triple option is a big part of what I do. I believe we are more of a running team, so we want to be physical up front. That should open up the passing game," said Callahan, who went to high school in Connecticut and then played offensive tackle at Northwestern.

And who better to turn around a program that hasn’t reached the Final Four since 2006?

Callahan coached in Louisiana and Virginia, before rebuilding a prep team in Massachusetts. After winning just one game over the past three years, Callahan took over and eventually led them to a perfect season.

He was also the coach at rival Mount Anthony Union six years ago. And he has won it all with Mount St. Joseph of Rutland.

"I believe that a place like Brattleboro Union High School can be a winner," stated the Colonels new head coach.

Callahan has done research, studied playbooks and watched video on football teams like Alabama and Oklahoma that have previously used the triple option.


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He has also seen it close up, having visited Army and Navy practice sessions.

He will now bring what Jamelle Holieway perfected with the Sooners in 1985 and what Ricky Dobbs recently exposed defenses with as the Navy signal-caller to Natowich Field for some Friday night excitement.

"I’m a strong believer in fundamentals. I like my teams to be fundamentally sound. I believe in treating players with respect, being a good teacher on the field, staying up with current trends in football, and working with students in a positive way," noted Callahan.

Defensively, Callahan said he likes to be aggressive and sound. His team will use an odd front -- a nose guard and two defensive tackles -- just like Navy.

Shane Covey can be reached at scovey@reformer.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.