CHATHAM, NJ – Jason Izsa was quickly hired as the new head football coach at Chatham when Don Morgenroth left to coach Montville High last month.
And the first-time head football coach has wasted no time in changing the offense from a triple option to the Delaware Wing T.
“Don Morgenroth was our offensive coordinator as well as the head coach and he knew that offense like the back of his hand,” said Izsa on Tuesday, July 23, while his team ran speed and agility drills at the high school. “So when he left, me coming from the defensive side, I didn’t know every rule there is for the triple option and there are a lot of rules.
“I have a Wing T background where I coached and played. I coached at Madison High School and also coached and played at Cedar Grove, all Wing T teams.”
Chatham, coincidentally, opens its season against Morgenroth’s Montville High team, 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at Cougar Field.
“It’s almost completely different ,” said Izsa, 38. “It’s going to be a change from the offense we ran the last four years with Don Morgenroth. The Wing T has a quarterback and three running backs.
“In the triple option we ran, there are a lot of decisions made whether to pitch or keep the ball. In the Wing T, there’s misdirection, but It’s a set play with blocking assignments. Our kids are smart enough to pick it up. It’s just like anything new, you’re not going to pick it up on the first day.’’
Chatham ran the ball about 70 percent of the time out of the triple option with Thomas Guida at quarterback. Not only is the offensive scheme changing, but so is the quarterback. Guida has indicated that he will not be playing this year. A standout lacrosse player, he’s headed to Johns Hopkins to join his brother, Rob, as a scholarship recruit.
“Obviously, we want him to play,” senior co-captain Scott Lynch said. “He just doesn’t know if he wants to play for not. As of now, he’s probably not playing.”
Sean Landolfi, Guida’s backup last season, is the leading candidate to win the job at this early stage and Lynch sees the 2013 Cougar team as one with a lot more depth.
“We’re definitely very deep in our roster this year as opposed to last year, with more skill position guys and even linemen,” Lynch said. “So I think we’re going to be all-around a better team.
“For instance, coming up is Ryan Barnett, who is going to play on the defensive end and a little tight end. Sophomore Matt Nestler, who will play outside linebacker, is an upcoming sophomore.”
Senior Jack Duane, Nick Hill and Connor Sardini could factor in significantly this season.
Co-captain Kyle McGeough will start both ways for Chatham as an offensive tackle and a defensive end/tackle on defense.
“I’m looking forward to a change of offense,” McGeough said. “We have some athletes, so I think it we’ll be pretty good.”