Bishop Bronco Head Coach Bill Egan.
Historically, the Bishop Broncos football squad (5-1) has always been outstanding. This year, backed by a strong group of seniors, the Broncos are the league favorites, and poised to do some serious kicking — and passing, and running and tackling — in the not-too-distant playoffs. Last Tuesday, I sat down with Head Coach Bill Egan (in between teaching his P.E. classes) to talk some Bronco football.
Sheet: How long have you coached high school football?
Egan: Hah, a long time. I started coaching football when I was a kid and I was actually a ski team coach for awhile. But I’ve been a high school football coach for about 30 years now.
Sheet: How do you maintain a successful program year after year?
Egan: I’m lucky. I have extremely good community and school backing. It also helps to have great coaches who have stood by me and are very consistent. That makes a huge difference. But most important, I just have great kids every year.
Sheet: Your team averages 40.8 points per game. What kind of offense do you run?
Egan: I don’t know. It’s kind of a wild thing. I guess you would call it a spread, but we apply the option. We do a sweep almost every play and we either give it or we don’t but we make options off that. It seems to work well for us. Out of our five victories, we’ve forced three running clocks. The offense changes every year, depending on the athletes we have.
Sheet: The majority of your offense comes from rushing the ball, 292 yards per game. Aaron Puls and Kiko Gonzales give you a combined 17 points per game.
Egan: We do have a lot of yardage. In a spread most people think it’s a passing offense. But we don’t have to do that. We’ve distributed the yardage between five guys. So not a lot of guys have big stats in that regard. I would say it’s pretty even.
If Aaron or Kiko were on another team they would probably be used more. But I don’t have to do that. I’m lucky. I have great seniors this year. They’re really bright and committed. They’ve worked so hard over these four years. They are one of the best groups I’ve ever had.
Sheet: So knowing you get different athletes every year, do you change your program each season or try to get the athletes to fit into your program?
Egan: I think when you’re a small school, you have to change your program depending on your talents. Knowing that, you have to magnify the skills your kids have rather then try to get them to be something they’re not.
Sheet: In your opinion, how has your QB Junior Callahan progressed in his role this year?
Egan: He’s a really talented kid. He throws really well and he’s a great runner. He also has great hands. Kiko and Aaron are great [as dual QBs], and we use them as much as we can. I’m sure next year he’ll be a lot more of the center of attention. We’re also going to have a really good line coming back, which is nice.
Sheet: Defensively, Senior Ermilio Arias averages 15.8 tackles and one sack per game. Year to year, how do you prepare underclassmen to compensate for the eventual loss of his type of on-field presence?
Egan: There wont be anyone who will step into his role next year. He’s such a special kid. But we have some kids who I think will step up. I guess, like I said earlier, it will look different. But I think we’ll be okay.
Sheet: What are the team’s biggest strengths?
Egan: Our defense is our strength. It’s a lot of fun. We have the kids do a bunch of different things. They might line up in the same place but they always have a different job to do. It keeps them interested and I think they have a lot of fun playing defense for us. However, it also leads to some mistakes. That’s okay.
Sheet: Your only loss came to the La Jolla Bishop Knights 21-10. What did the team learn from that loss?
Egan: Well It was my fault. I should have done some things differently. Riding that bus for eight hours was tough on the kids and they looked beat. But I think athletically, we matched up. They [La Jolla] were a very disciplined team. The difference was that they were a little more fundamentally prepared and came with more intensity. It was bad planning on my part. I don’t agree that a loss makes you better. But I think we’re smart and next time I would go down the night before. I wouldn’t get in the bus at seven in the morning again. The LA freeway gets pretty arduous.
Sheet: What do you need to improve on going forward, or at least think about heading into the playoffs?
Egan: Physically, we’re good enough to beat anyone in our division. I’m going to make sure they are ready to play. The kids are powerful as heck and I need to make sure they are prepared so we need to focus on and refine our fundamentals. Our blocking and execution will get better, and we’ll be tough to beat.
Sheet: What team or teams do you think will be the biggest challenge coming up on your schedule?
Egan: I have no idea. I don’t see any team being better or worse then the next. We’ll just be ready. We take it one game at a time.
Sheet: This week, you’re preparing to going on the road against Frazier Mountain. What are you doing to prepare for this matchup?
Egan: They throw the ball quite a bit. So we need to prepare our pass defense. We need to threaten to intercept and sack the quarterback. On the other side of the ball, they’ve run a number of different defenses. I’m not sure what they are going to bring at us but I hope we will make the adjustments to deal with it.
The Bishop Broncos go on the road for the next two weeks playing Frazier Mountain (0-6) this Friday and Kern Valley (2-4) next week. The Broncos return home on Nov. 5 to face the Rosamond Roadrunners.