Good morning, Broncos Country!
The second week of OTAs is almost over, and It’s clear the fundamentals - especially the ones taught in the classroom - are a big deal to head coach Vic Fangio.
And not just within the NFL ranks.
In fact, if it’s crucial anywhere, it’s at the high school level where fundamentals are king (or at least should be).
And that makes coaching at the high school level an excellent training ground for coaching at any other level.
“I think coaching high school football gives you a good foundation just because you’re coaching fundamentals at a low level and you’re usually having to coach both sides of the ball, not just offense or defense,” Fangio said Monday when he opened Broncos practice up to high school coaches across Colorado. “It’s a great coaching opportunity to get your feet wet and establish some confidence in coaching players assignment and techniques, so I think it’s a good place to start.”
The new head coach is responsible for the idea of hosting an open practice to high school coaches - and the 130 Colorado coaches who attended felt the love.
“He wanted to emphasize what a big fan he is of high school football coaches,” one coach told Paul Klee of The Gazette. “He’s got a soft spot in his heart for us, since that’s what he was.”
Fangio started his coaching career in 1979 as the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for Dunmore High School in Pennsylvania, the school where he had also been a standout free safety - and Fangio credits much of his success in the coaching field to that first experience coaching high school ball.
“It was the foundation, really,” he told coaches Monday. “It was the first place I coached. I coached there for, I believe, three years and worked under a great head coach which gave me a good foundation to move onward and upward. It was a tremendous part.”
But if you asked Fangio’s own coach in high school, you’d know that the writing was probably on the wall for his career path way back when Fangio played free safety and wideout for a freshman team that won every game by 25-30 points.
“Victor was a great player for us back in the ‘70s,” 83-year-old Jack Henzes told Klee. Henzes and Fangio still talk twice a month. “Victor was a very intelligent player. Later on, he used to call our defenses for us. He’s a very bright young man.”
The high school coaches hanging out with Fangio at the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse on Monday certainly thought so.
“He’s an old-school, straightforward, what you see is what you get,” said Marc Bornhoft, assistant coach for an 8-man football team at Haxtun High School. “He’s a football guy, just what you’d expect.”
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