Photo By Patty Theurer - #7 Josh Gipe
Written by Brandon Hill
Defense will be the name of the game for the Lumberjacks in 2020, as Council attempts to wrangle in opposing offenses in a high-flying 1ADII class.
The Lumberjacks dropped a number of contests in one-sided, high scoring affairs, including four 30-point-plus losses while competing in the Long Pin Conference.
According to second-year head coach Cole Cooper, stopping the run will be the starting point for his squad in 2020.
“Our goal is to stop the run to force the pass. This requires having high-motor defensive linemen that are willing to chase players down,” Cooper said. “Many stunts and slants that we installed should keep most teams guessing what our defensive scheme will be play after play.”
In eight-man play, Cooper said he wants the majority of his players attacking the front line, with a 4-man front forcing pressure on the quarterback to cause chaos and panic in the pocket.
“We have a faster defense for 2020 that should be able to wreak havoc and get to ball carriers,” he said.
Cooper will look to sophomore linebacker Wyatt Vining, a “hard-nosed” defensive leader he said will be in charge of executing said chaos creation. Vining is joined by sophomore defensive back Josh Gipe and Jaxon Thomas, who Cooper said exhibit exceptional intelligence and a willingness to give every snap their all.
In Idaho’s smallest classification, depth always plays a key role in success down the stretch. In this year’s Lumberjack squad, Cooper will need Gipe, also the team’s quarterback, to show his durability deep in the cold winter months.
“(Gipe) has improved immensely as a quarterback with accuracy and distance and will be included in the run game,” Cooper said. “The weight room has been very good for him.”
Gipe’s passing attack should be on full display this fall, as Cooper lamented the fact that last year’s offense was much too predictable. A heavy emphasis on the run made it much too easy for opposing defenses to plug the gaps and lock down the outside, resulting in a handful of low-scoring contests.
To help with Gipe’s development, Cooper added Cody Pfiefer to his staff to mentor Gipe. Derek Zielinksy, a “Council legend,” also joined the team as the running backs and defensive backs coach.
“Offensive line play would give us the best chance of winning a lot of games. Our wide receivers and tight ends need to catch the ball and get into open space,” he said. “Having a balanced attack is key to having success in 2020. The 2020 season has the promise to be more versatile as we are leaning more towards a balanced play-calling system.”
Vining and junior running back Trinity Hoxie will provide relief for Gipe in the run game. Vining, Cooper said, gained 30 pounds of muscle in the offseason and will be a force to be reckoned when he has a full head of steam.
Stay tuned to IdahoSports.com for an updated schedule of the Council Lumberjacks football team.