After the UMHB Crusaders defeated St. John Fisher on Saturday afternoon, second-year offensive coordinator Jeff Shinn talked with Herald sports editor Allan Mandell.
Coach, how about the job Brian Gallagher did for you today? It’s natural for any senior to want to start. But he’s a kid that never complains and was ready when he was called to perform.
Of course, it’s natural for him to want to be the starter. But the thing that’s so awesome about BG is that he’s played his role. As you could see today, he kept himself ready all season and really came through for us.
And, Coach, on the big second-down play deep in your end zone in the fourth quarter, back on your own 4-yard line, you called the screen pass and Brian sold the fake and executed the play perfectly.
That is exactly right. Brian and his teammates made a big play when they had to. That was a big, big play. It was just a one-possession game at that point. We were up only eight points (31-23). And we were backed up so deep there. So if we’d have had to punt right there, with the wind being what it was today, and their offense being so good, we’re putting our own defense in a tough situation. So that play was big by everyone involved.
And then Brian made the touchdown run. On that play, did you see that block by (halfback) Malcolm Miller?
Yes. I did. We faked to Elijah inside. We just told Brian what we wanted. Malcolm understands our offense so well and carried out his assignment in making that block and helping pave the way for Brian to score. It was a great block.
With 6:15 to play, on second-and-2 at their 18, Gallagher made a nice, safe, strong toss to Kamray Runnels which resulted in an 8-yard gain. It appeared that Brian made one of those “either my guy gets it or no guy gets it” type of passes — what you’d want in that situation.
That is exactly correct. These guys we played today had gotten 15 turnovers in the last three weeks so that’s something we emphasized — no turnovers. We did have one turnover today. You always want that number to be none. But, on that play, Brian did make the correct throw: either we get it or nobody gets it. We wanted to make sure, once we got down there, that we wanted to finish that drive with points. Brian understood that completely and did a great job.
Again, on Gallagher’s second touchdown, Malcolm Miller again made a terrific block.
Yes he did, and that’s his role. The thing about Malcolm is that he’s a selfless player. He doesn’t get that many touches. When he does get them, it’s good. But, overall, it’s Malcolm who so often makes our offense go. All those yards rushing our quarterbacks and Elijah Hudson get, a large part of the credit is because of Malcolm—and the guys up front, of course.
I do want to add that we played a very good football team today. I’m excited that we got some push from our opponents today. Now we can build off this game today. We can learn from our mistakes and build up our strengths. We’re down to four teams now — there’s nobody left that’s bad.
That team that we just beat today is a very good football team.
Interesting, your offense put up 38 points today, your defense scored seven points. And all your offensive guys are a bit bummed that it was “just” 38 points. The standards are high here, that’s for sure.
We do have high expectations. We have explosive guys. We want to score every time we get the ball. And when we don’t, when we have 3-and-outs, we don’t score … it makes us mad. So, right now, I will look at what I can do better. All our coaches will do the same thing. And then we ask our players to do the same thing — get better. And then we will be better.
So, Coach, how does it feel to be in the Final Four?
Well, it’s a great feeling. It’s awesome and we will enjoy this. But it is not our goal. Our goal is not to be a Final Four team.
Our goal is to be the final one. So when we get back to work as coaches our goal is to be one of two teams left. Then we’ll go back to doing it all again. We’ll find a way to do this. It’s a great place to be. We’re 13-and-0, but we’re not satisfied. Because 13-and-0 is not our goal. Still, yes, we are excited.
Contact Allan Mandell at email@example.com or 254-501-7566