Blast from the Past: Panthers Head Coach Takes the Field
Englehart laces up his cleats to run scout team offense in preparation for Shorter
MELBOURNE, FLA. — If you would have visited the Varsity Training Center on Wednesday, you may have thought to yourself, “Who’s this new quarterback playing for the scout team offense?” You also may have thought he had a pretty nice arm.
Well, that “new guy” isn’t really new at all. In fact, he’s been with the football program from its infancy. The signal caller who was replicating the triple option offense employed by Saturday’s opponent, Shorter, was none other than Florida Tech head football coach Steve Englehart.
It was definitely a different experience for all parties involved, and the Panther players seemed to really enjoy the moment. So did their coach.
“It was fun,” Englehart said. “It was less about me having the opportunity to do that than a motivational tactic for our guys. I knew it would kind of light a fire under them a little bit and get some good energy going. Also, I thought that I could really help our defense with recognizing what Shorter’s offense does because I played in that system for so long.”
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Englehart ran the triple option attack effectively. He did, after all, command the exact same offense for four years at his alma mater, Indiana State. A Hoosier state native, Englehart played quarterback for the Sycamores from 1996-99.
If you didn’t know any better, you probably wouldn’t have even known that the scout team QB was many years older than the guys he was playing for and against. The Panther head coach was running through his progressions quickly, dropping dimes and tossing frozen ropes all over the field behind the VTC.
Englehart was even garnering some oohs and aahs from his players, particularly when he dropped a pass perfectly in stride to his receiver for what surely would have been a touchdown. If he had been wearing royal blue gear it would have been hard to tell the difference between him and the quarterback leading the Indiana State offense a decade and a half ago.
“It was exactly like riding a bike. All the footwork and all that stuff was second nature to me. Obviously, I did it quite a bit slower than what I did 15 years ago. One thing I proved is that you definitely get slower with age,” Englehart joked.
The question now becomes how well the FIT coach will recover from the day’s events.
“Not bad at all,” Englehart said the next day. “A little tight and a little bit sore at times but it’s really not that bad. I’m sure it’s always worse the second day.”
With a daunting eight-hour bus ride to Georgia ahead of the Panthers, it’s a safe bet that he’s hoping that isn’t the case. FIT will depart from the VTC at 7 a.m. ET Friday to make its way to the Peach State. The Panthers will take on the Hawks and their triple option offense at noon Saturday at Barron Stadium in Rome.
Saturday’s contest can be heard on the Panthers’ new Official Radio Partner WFIT 89.5 FM. Jerry Durney and Paul Van Scott will start Saturday’s broadcast with a pregame show at 11:30 a.m. The broadcast can also be heard at WFIT.org and through the free TuneIn Radio app.
Links to live video, audio and stats will be available at FloridaTechSports.com.
Fans can keep up with Florida Tech Football by following the team’s social media accounts on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FLTechFootball, on Instagram at http://instagram.com/FloridaTechFootball and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FloridaTechFootball.
Tickets are available for the Panthers’ final home game on Nov. 15 versus Valdosta State at FloridaTechSports.com, by stopping by the Clemente Center Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by calling 321-674-6228.
2014 Schedule: http://www.floridatechsports.com/football/schedule/
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