by David Brox - email@example.com
A note before I begin that I will have to make an exception to my rule about discussing Kansas University in my blog. It will not happen often but I am impressed enough by Austin that I will make an exception.
I have started getting more and more emails but one email exchange I initiated has been very enlightening and a story I think every high school football player should hear about. I heard nothing but good things about Austin as a coach. The results have also been fantastic his first few seasons as offensive coordinator under Todd Wassman at Sumner.
Are you from Kansas City?
"I am born and raised in KCK I attended White Church elementary, Eisenhower middle school and graduated from Sumner in 2006. I grew up playing football, basketball and baseball and played all three of those through high school."
Austin (#18 below) attended KU and was apart of the Orange Bowl team. I asked Austin about his path to KU.
"My path to KU was indirect to say the least. My senior year of high school I was fortunate enough to play well enough to start to gain some attention from many of the local schools D-1 and D-2 and even some around the nation. Receiving nothing more than a walk-on invite at the D-1 level I signed to play ball at Coffeyville Community College. I spent a year there playing sparingly behind a D-1 transfer from Wisconsin. But I learned a ton and I began to soak up the free information. "
"Though I was learning a lot and improving at the JUCO level I became restless in wanting to pursue my D-1 career. After sending out some feelers the University of Kansas coaching staff contacted me and asked me to join there program as an Invited Walk-on. From there I spent the next season as a red-shirt and ran the scout team offense for the eventual Orange Bowl Champions. "
"That winter the numbers side of college football became very relevant in my life. Being a walk-on I was expendable to the roster. The staff had recruited a couple QBs on scholarship and to have roster space for them I was let go shortly after spring ball. I was hurt but the opportunity to become a coach, which was my passion, opened up. I was called twice by the staff the following fall and spring with an opportunity to comeback and play but felt that my career was going to be in helping others with my experiences. And I don't regret the decision for one second."
How did you get on board at Sumner?
"I was fortunate to play under now assistant coach Richard Gliechman and current head coach Todd Wassmann at Sumner. Wassmann took over the program my senior year and I made the move from WR/TE to starting QB. Both coaches have been extremely influential in my life both on and off the field. So when the opportunity presented itself to join the staff it was a no brainer for me. I spent the summer before I was on the staff working with many of the players in a 7 on 7 league. "
"My younger brother, Spenser Bennett a senior at the time was the QB and so I spent hours working with him on fundamentals and technique along with other offensive players. I began coaching at Sumner in fall of 2009 and for the past three years it has been the best learning experience that I could ask for. To become the offensive coordinator at the age of 21 and now at 23 to have that experience is more than anything I could have expected."
When Vernon Vaughn shared with me that his coach played at KU it all made a bit of sense to me why the offense looked so familiar. Armand looked a lot like Todd Ressing running all over the field extending plays and obviously had a lot of success doing so.
Are you running the KU offense or have you modified it?
"Being at Sumner and working in the KCK league its obvious that we are blessed with a lot of athletic and fast players. Not very many lineman. So the natural fit was the spread offense. And yes the main vocabulary and fundamentals of my offense are what I learned under Coach Ed Warinner at KU (now for Notre Dame). I created my own playbook, philosophy, and style but like every coach will tell you football is merely a copy cat league. Of course I am a big fan of Mike Leach with me being an ex QB but I am very intrigued by the West Coast offense and the play action/bootleg game off of that. "
My own personal goal was to use my experiences to help as many players as possible, for them to be better prepared both on the field and off than I was at that point in my career. With Armand, Torrel Saffold at RB, Vernon Vaughn, Benny Parker, Marcus Allen and Eli Alexander as my skills players that first year. The offense flourished and as a Coordinator the results and the amount of the offense they picked up was tremendous. And in their second year we got to things that I couldn't have imagined but they picked it up so I kept giving them more. Its a real testament to the mental capabilities of those young men."
Austin is definitely developing his coaching skills. I for one can tell from reading his story that the sky is the limit for where he will go in his career as a coach. To that end information will begin to surface about some training opportunities with Austin. Coming from a JUCO and then D-1 program he has a wealth of knowledge to share with KCK and I would encourage young QB's and skill position players to take advantage.
Tell me about the training you have done with players?
"This "training" thing is in its very early stages. It came about when I was thinking about keeping Vernon sharp between football and heading to KState. Then Officer Steve Williams asked if I would work with his son Stevie another very talented player out of KCK. I provide detailed fundamentals and basics for every offensive skill position. The more people the better. I am just looking to provide something that may not have been around when I was their age. I want to help them have every opportunity to get better."
Anyone that shares this goal definitely gets my full support. I would like to start gathering an interest list for a camp following the basketball season. If you are interested in working on your skills and continuing to develop then definitely send me an email. I had thoughts about a camp but by no means am I qualified but I think Austin's resume speaks for itself. I am willing to help with organizing and leaving the training to Austin for development of his coaching techniques.
He is modest but again results don't lie.
"I am a very detailed coach and believe that the fundamentals are very important to practice and master. I don't want this to come off as bragging because the players put forth the work I just provided guidelines. I was fortunate enough to be one of the best QB's at Sumner and with my offense set records, I then coached my younger brother who broke my records and set others and moved on to play in college. Then I coached Armand Brisbane who believed in what I was telling him and added his own talent and athleticism to re-write the entire record book. I spent hours a week helping Vernon and the other wide-outs and running backs with their fundamentals and techniques to help maximize their potential. "
"I am by no means a master nor do I claim to know everything. One of my biggest assets as a coach is providing confidence in a person no matter what and understanding how to communicate with them in the best way to get results. I am very confident in myself as a coach but I didn't create the techniques or fundamentals I've just got my own way of coaching them that I believe has been very effective. "
Austin will be a head coach one day as he simply gets it. Young coaches relate to this new generation of players. You see more and more head coaches securing positions in their 30's. Austin is only 23 so it is just a matter of time before an opportunity presents itself. I look forward to hopefully teaming up to make a KCK football camp possible. Email me with interest.