Post season interview with Head Coach Tony Hurps Berne Union

LICKING COUNTY FAN

Well-known member
This was the 2nd time I have been able to interview Coach Hurps. For me, it has been cool because back when he played ball he was one of my favorite players. He was a beast for Newark Catholic not so long ago.

Name
Tony Hurps

Position
Head Coach

School
Berne Union High School

What were your main concerns about your team heading into the 2022 season?


We had lost an awful lot of talented players from our 2021 team, and we knew we were going to have to play a lot of inexperienced, young players. I think there were times throughout the season where we ended up with nine sophomores starting when you factored in both sides of the ball.

What was the number one goal you had set for the 2022 team, and did they achieve it?
We wanted to emphasize the culture and get our young players to play with confidence and buy into what we were teaching them. This sophomore class hadn’t had a lot of success at the junior high level, and they didn’t always have 100% confidence in their abilities. I think by the end of the year, those young players had gotten to a point where they believed they could do it, and we could trust them.

After two a days were complete, which player or players stuck out to you and why?
I mean, it is hard not to say, Nate Nemeth. He was a four-year starter and three-year captain. This was a year where he really had to grow with his leadership. He knew that we were young, and had to teach and communicate differently than he was used to.

After being outscored by Calvert and Worthington Christian by a combined score of 82-7, the Rockets would rebound with back-to-back wins. What were the biggest factors in getting the team to rebound as quickly as they did?
I think we just had to be realistic. I try to be very honest with our players, and we knew that both those teams were talented and well-coached. We didn’t play our best, and both teams were more physical than we were. There are some games you play, where the other team is just better than you. We told them not to dwell on it and keep moving forward.

What did you learn the most from the 2022 season that will make you a better coach in 2023?
I think there are small improvements and lessons that are learned every year I coach. As a young coach, I tried to emulate the coaches I looked up to, but I soon realized that you are the most effective coach when you are yourself, show players you love them, and care about their future beyond football. This year more than ever, I learned many times that football and extracurricular activities are the best part of a student’s day. They may come from a rough home life, and football is a place they can get away from that stress, and a place they feel wanted. Football is a tool that I use to help students. It should be a place where students feel loved and not a place where they are attacked and put down by coaches.

What are your thoughts on 16 teams from each region qualifying for the playoffs?
I am not a fan. When you have teams who earn a way into the playoffs with 3 wins or less on the season, that is a problem. I think the initial proposal of 12 teams that was approved prior to Covid was the best option for expansion. I still hold the opinion that Ohio football is special because you have to earn your way into the postseason, but it is so watered down now, it diminishes the accomplishment that earning a trip to the playoffs once was.

Which team in 2022 was the toughest to prepare for? Why?
Obviously, each of the teams that gave us losses posed various challenges for us when preparing for them, but Tiffin Calvert was the most difficult team to prepare for. We knew they were a very talented team, and we were not as familiar with them or their opponents as the rest of the teams on our schedule. They were well coached, had good size, and were physical, and it was tough to find a weakness that we could exploit.

What were the high and low points of the 2022 season?
I think our comeback against an underrated Beaver Eastern team really showed that this team had the character that we look for in our players. We had not played well the majority of the first half, we held some players out for disciplinary reasons, and our possessions were limited, but we were able to overcome all that adversity to overcome a 14-0 deficit. I think we took our first lead with under 2:00 minutes to go and held on 21-14.

What will you remember the most from the 2022 class?
Development, and sacrifice. The biggest thing I will remember from the 2022 class is how much they developed in their four years, and how each and every one of them was willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. Some of them were not four-year players or played off and on, but they always played for each other, and until the final whistle blew.

Can you tell us which seniors from last season will be moving on to play college ball and list the colleges too?
Caddis Moody - Ohio Northern University
Nate Nemeth - uncommitted
 
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