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Saturday, August 18, 2012
Cobban: 'I'm going in with my eyes wide open'

By Brendan Hall

Earlier this week, Kevin Cobban was officially named the new head football coach at Plymouth North High, his second stint with the Eagles after previously leading them from 1994 to 1999.

Considering how close we are to kicking off the 2012 preseason in Massachusetts, and how much time Cobban has been away from the high school game, the timing of Cobban's hire is unique. Previous head coach Dwayne Follette resigned on Aug. 6, as part of a deal with the school district following some off-field allegations that were made public. Cobban is also diving back into the high school game for the first time since 1999, when he left the Eagles to become offensive coordinator at Bridgewater State University.

The Eagles are hoping this is a smooth transition. Cobban is currently a physical education teacher in Plymouth's middle school system, and the Eagles will retain Follette's entire staff of assistant coaches from last season. Cobban spoke to ESPNBoston.com earlier this week for a few more comments on his new position:

His reaction to being named head coach: "I was excited about it. It's a great opportunity to get back into head coaching, we've got great new facilities, great kids, I teach in the system so I know all the kids. I was out of coaching for while to raise my own family, but now they're old enough that I thought it was the right time to get back into coaching. I'm so excited about it."

The plan going forward: "I don’t know what I'm going to incorporate. I'm gonna wait to see what type of talent is here, and create an offense molded around the talent have. I'm being 100 percent honest when I say I don't know who's going to be the quarterback. I know the kids, I had them all in Phys Ed., but I don't how they relate in terms of football. I’m not trying to be sneaky, I'm being honest. We've had two coaches' meetings, because I just got the job Monday. I'm just trying to hammer everything out in a week what is usually done in months."

What's changed about the high school game since his last go-around: "The game has evolved, with the spread and getting athletes into the open field. Before it was more of controlled, confined game. Now, it's more wide open, offenses are putting up a lot of points. The way you cover a team defensively, there's a lot more grass to cover now. Now they spread it all over the field, and it can make you very vulnerable defensively, so on offense yo've got to do the same thing. That’s the biggest change I've seen."

On the difficulties taking the position so shortly before the season, and how he'll approach the first days: "It’s a tough thing right now. It's gonna take me hopefully not more than a day to figure out what we have and what offense is best suited to our kids, then have to put the system in place. The uncertainty of it is keeping me up at night, but we've got a great coaching staff. I retain all the assistants that were there last year. It's a smooth transition. The kids are very familiar with me because they've had me as a teacher at middle school, so the transition should be easy.

"I'm going in with my eyes wide open Monday. I'm going to do a lot of fundamental work and see what's best for the kids. We've only got 18 practices before our first game, we cannot waste time, so we better have an idea halfway through our first practice. We have ideas of course, but nothing is set in stone at this point."

On Dwayne Follette: "I'm not going to mention Dwayne as a coach, but as a person. When I took the job in 1994, Dwayne was the first person to reach out to me. I came from Weymouth High School to Plymouth as a head coach, and he was the first guy to reach out and accept me. He's coached for many years. Personally and professionally, he has always been a very good friend of mine. He has been nothing but positive. He wants the kids to do well and he's happy I got job, he’ll do anything for us."

Was it difficult for him to watch what went down this summer? "I was away from it. I didn’t know what was going on. It was difficult because a friend of mine was in trouble, it was difficult for the kids because we try to do right by the kids. I don't judge anyone, I judge them by how they deal with me, and that's how I deal with them. Dwayne has been a class act all my life and that’s how I have treated him."