The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Stephen McKay
Sports Writer 

Sidney's Koozer hits ground running

 

Stephen McKay

New Sidney High School football coach Chris Koozer has the Red Raiders in the weight room daily as they gear up for their 2015 season in the fall.

New Sidney High School head football coach Chris Koozer had his first opportunity to run his team through its paces last week and is beginning to settle into a day-to-day routine despite a few challenges.

Fresh from Burke Stadium in Omaha where he performed his final duties for Grand Island High School at the state track & field meet as an assistant coach, Koozer is now on the job here in Sidney. Though not quite surrounded by all the comforts of home, Koozer is just happy to be back on the job with a new challenge.

At present Koozer, his wife Amy and three sons are making due in a camper until the construction of his house is completed. He hopes the house will be finished by the time school starts in August.

At the high school last week, Koozer conducted a four-day football camp with the help of assistant coaches John Ganser, Curtis Hofrock and Brandon Ross. With a large group of Red Raiders, which included dozens of veterans and new faces, Koozer spent much of the time on conditioning and teaching.

"I've been very impressed by the kids," Koozer said. "They want to work hard and there's a lot of potential here. They seem very self-motivated and willing to learn."

Besides being head football coach, Koozer was hired to take over the duties of departed head coach Todd Ekart. He will teach physical education and strength and conditioning. He has already been holding weightlifting sessions at 6 a.m..

On Tuesday morning, Koozer could be found in the Cabela's Athletic Facility with his 2-year-old St. Bernard "Briggs" by his side. Like Koozer, Briggs is large and friendly with an athletic build – though Koozer is built more like a linebacker while Briggs has more the look of a defensive lineman in a permanent four-point stance.

For what it's worth, Koozer's favorite color is red, he likes a variety musical genres and likes most sports movies like Remember the Titans and Hoosiers. In addition to having been coaching football for 13 years, he has also coached basketball and track. He witnessed, first hand, as the Red Raiders boys' track team won the state championship.

What Koozer likes most about coaching is the relationships he has built with the kids that have passed through the Islanders program during his tenure at Grand Island.

"The relationships are the fun part, especially now that I've been coaching for 13 years," Kooser said. "Even though they're gone I continue a lot of those relationships and enjoy keeping up with how they're doing."

While the official start to training camp does not begin until Monday, Aug. 3 with conditioning, a number of camps will be held over the summer. Full practice, with two-a-day sessions will begin the following week. The NSAA does not allow more than 10 days of camps over the summer.

"We're going to use the days we have over the summer sporadically," Koozer said. "We'll continue to work with skills and do some 7-on-7s against different schools which will give us a chance to see different schemes."

For regular fans of the Red Raiders, they're going to see much the same offense as they have seen in recent years. Among those lost to graduation from 2014 are starting quarterback Lane Harvey and running backs Chance Anglin and Michael Muggli. Two-way lineman Jake Sager also graduated, as did linebackers Brian Rolls and Kevin Jurgensen.

"With the defense and special teams it will be a total change," Koozer said. "But the offense will stay the same and we'll take Coach (Brandon) Ross's lead on that."

 

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