Student coaches: From on to off the field

David Reyes, Credit-Amanda Lafky

By Stephen Eibes —

The University of Wisconsin–Stout football team has five coaches that, not too long ago, played for the Blue Devils. Joe Gerber (graduate student, Minneapolis), Ricky Marteney (Sr, Greenfield, Wis.), Trevor Morning (Sr, Bloomer, Wis.), David Reyes (Sr, Riverside, Calif.) and Jake Schiff (Sr, South Range, Wis.) make up the five coaches who are still finishing up their academic careers at Stout. I caught up with three of the coaches and asked them some questions about their transition from on the field to off the field.

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Q: What are some of the major differences between being a coach and being a player?

A: Joe Gerber (Tight Ends Coach) As a player I worried so much about myself, my performance on the field, or the weight room or what I was doing to help my team get the win that week.  Now, as a coach, I see a football team as a single mechanism and it takes every young man on that team to make the mechanism run smoothly.

A: Jake Schiff (Defensive Backs Coach) As a player, you can change what happens on the field but as a coach you can only tell the guys how to correct their mistakes so they can make that change themselves.

Q: How has your playing style come out or changed in your coaching style?

A: David Reyes (Offensive Line Coach) Luckily, my playing style was an easy transition into coaching. During last season we had a very young group of offensive linemen, so I had to coach the young guys up while I was playing. I can now take more time to coach up each individual player.

Q: Have there been any major challenges for you guys, collectively or as an individual, this season?

A: Schiff The only new thing is being up in the coaches’ box on game days. I had never watched a football game from the coaches’ box obviously, so I had no idea what to expect being there during a game. I’ve found it to be a great opportunity to learn from a different perspective.

A: Reyes I think the main challenge is that we are still young coaches. I learn more and more about the game of football every day, so it’s interesting to sit down and learn from the other coaches.”

Q: How has being a student coach affected your school life?

A: Reyes It hasn’t really affected it too much. Our head coach knows that we are still students, so academics come first. I know that a couple of us have to miss practice once a week for a class and he is totally okay with that. We may have to stay up longer to get our homework done after practice and meetings, but that’s only going to better us in the future because we know how to manage our time.

A: Schiff Being a student coach has actually helped my school life. I’ve been used to the same type of fall schedule the past four years and staying on that same schedule with football has helped me stay on task.

Q: What is your relationship with the head coaches like now that you are a student coach?

A: Schiff As a player, you don’t realize what kind of life the coaches have away from football because that is the only time you see them is around their offices, in the meeting rooms, and on the field. As a student coach, I have learned a lot about the lives coaches have away from football. You realize they’re just regular guys that have the same passion for football as the players do but they’ve chosen to carry football on past their playing days and make a career out of it.”

Q: What’s the best part about being a student coach?

A: Reyes The best part of being a student coach is being able to be a part of the team still. I love football and I always want it to be a part of my life. I would much rather watch the game from the field where I can coach up the guys and have an impact on the game, rather than watching the game from the stands.

A: Schiff The best part about being a student coach is still being around the game. Being able to learn from the other coaches that have been working in the sport has helped me learn a lot more than I ever did when I was playing. It is also pretty awesome to see how much time coaches put in each week to put the team in the best position possible to win.

Stout’s next home game is Saturday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. Come out and support the Blue Devils as they take on University of Wisconsin–Platteville in the Hall of Fame Game.

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