Marsh’s mission: Fruita Monument’s new football coach teaching style on the fly

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—New head coach Shawn Marsh congratulates one of his Fruita Monument players on a good play during the Mesa State College football camp.

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—New head coach Shawn Marsh, second from right, tosses a football as his Fruita Monument High School players convene in a huddle before a play at the Mesa State College football camp.

The Fruita Monument High School football team is building the foundation for the fall this summer.

The Wildcats are one of eight teams at this week’s Mesa State College football camp, and Fruita players and coaches are using the camp to get to know each other on and off the field.

“This gives the kids the first shot to see how we’ll be coaching as a coaching staff,” first-year Fruita Monument head coach Shawn Marsh said. “They’ll see how we deal with stuff and it gives us an idea on how these kids respond to certain situations.”

Marsh was hired on Jan. 27, but hasn’t spent much time with the players until now.

The camp serves as an opportunity for the players to not only get accustomed with Marsh’s style, but also take to a fairly new coaching staff. Sean Mulvey is the Wildcats’ new defensive coordinator and Phil Johnston and Pete Cyphers will run the offense.

“We have a great coaching staff and that’s what makes it fun, because as a staff we all click and fit together well,” Marsh said. “The kids that are out here right now, they want to learn, and it’s a high-energy group and they are very excited about being out here.”

Marsh said the first time the Wildcats were installing the new offense and defense schemes was Tuesday, the first day of camp.

“We started installing (Tuesday) night,” Marsh said. “We’ve been waiting for camp to do our install and met a couple of times and went over some things, but this is the first time that we are out there as a team.”

Marsh left his position as head coach at Grand Junction High School in 2007, and although he’s been away from high school football the past two seasons, the 41-year-old coach didn’t completely leave the game.

Last fall, Marsh served as the running backs coach for Mesa State.

“Being able to work with the college staff and spend time with those guys makes you re-look at how you do stuff,” Marsh said. “I picked up a lot of great things working with (the Mesa coaches).”

Marsh will run a spread offense and said he was impressed with how quickly the players understood the scheme.

“It’s simple as far as picking it up and the kids have already showed us that they can pick it up,” Marsh said. “We were able to execute an offense that looks like our offense in a short amount of time.”

The spread offense will be another new offensive approach for the Wildcats after running the option attack as well as the A-11 offense the past couple of years under former coach Bill Moore.

Keenan Coit is a senior receiver for the Wildcats and said the first few days of camp have been important for getting used to the new systems.

“We are going to a totally new playbook, so it will be good,” Coit said. “It’s coming along in part because we have a lot of our skill players back, we have our quarterback (junior Zach Thorpe) returning, our running back (junior Devin Dance), so we are excited.”

Other schools Fruita Monument is competing alongside of at the camp include Palisade, Montrose, Delta and Eagle Valley. Although there will be scrimmages and individual competition at the camp, which runs through Friday, Coit said the biggest goal for the Wildcats is to build cohesiveness within the team.

“(Marsh) talked to us about it and we are just trying to look at it from a competitive base,” Marsh said. “We look at it from we need to get to where we learn all the plays and know what we need to be doing.”


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