2016-10-13 / Sports

Spencer: Coaches Have High Expectations

By Sam Morgen


Saints Assistant Coach Chris “Iffer” Marshall (from left), Assistant Coach Les Therrian, and Head Coach Marty Spencer observe the Saints from the sidelines during the Friday, September 23, game against Harbor Springs. Saints Assistant Coach Chris “Iffer” Marshall (from left), Assistant Coach Les Therrian, and Head Coach Marty Spencer observe the Saints from the sidelines during the Friday, September 23, game against Harbor Springs. As the St. Ignace varsity football team enters the final portion of the regular season, the team is preparing for a playoff run.

“We’re right where we expected to be,” said Saints Coach Marty Spencer. “We have high expectations. That’s why we work so hard.”

Coach Spencer and Defensive Coordinator Les Therrian have coached together for the past 30 years, the first 10 of those years coaching the junior varsity squad. Together, Coach Spencer and Coach Therrian have honed the practice schedule of the team to highlight perfection of certain skills.

“If you do a few things very, very well, you’re going to be successful,” Coach Spencer said.

The Saints have made the playoffs 13 of the 19 years Coach Spencer has been the head coach, including every year since 2007. With the most recent win over Central Lake, the Saints have clinched a playoff spot.

“I’m a guy that believes in structure, and we do a lot of the same things over and over,” Coach Spencer said. “We keep it pretty much the same the whole year and the kids get pretty good at what we’re doing.”

Because of the structure, each coach has a defined role they have become accustomed to over the years. Coach Spencer oversees the whole team and focuses on the offense during practices. Coach Therrian oversees the defense. Assistant Coaches Chris “Iffer” Marshall, Chuck McCall, and Mike Shepard specialize in different aspects of the game.

Aside from changing the assistant coaches every once in a while, Coach Therrian said of the structure, “It’s been pretty much the same way for the last 20 years.”

Coach Marshall works with the inside linebackers, who line up behind the defensive line and alternatively must rush through the other team’s offensive line or cover wide receivers during games. Coach Marshall also works with special teams.

Coach McCall coaches outside linebackers, and is head coach of the junior varsity football team. Coach Shepard is assistant coach of the junior varsity football team and coaches the varsity running backs.

During the games, Coach Spencer runs the offense and Coach Therrian runs the defense. Coach Marshall helps both coaches in various areas during the game.

Coaches Shepard and McCall watch the varsity games from the coach’s box and communicate through headsets to Mr. Spencer and Mr. Therrian.

“It’s two extra sets of eyes to help analyze the offense and defense,” said Coach McCall.

Mr. Spencer and Mr. Therrian ask Coaches Shepard and McCall questions about team formations and what the other team’s players are doing successfully and unsuccessfully. By analyzing the other team from the coach’s box, the Saints can make adjustments during the game to make up for any shortcomings in the game plan.

The Saints have enjoyed many years of success, giving the team a reputation that the players and coaches appreciate.

“Tradition is huge here,” Coach McCall said. “We’re always expected to be the team to beat. It’s just always been that way.”

With two games to go before the regular season ends, the Saints have few opportunities left to tweak any chinks in their play. Coach Spencer likes how the team is playing now, and the players are eager for the games every Friday.

“They’re a pretty confident group,” Coach Spencer said.

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