Homestead Coach Gives Insight

Homestead Coach Gives Insight

Peter Ariz
Q & A with Homestead Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Javi Valdes on the state of Homestead football, Ermon Lane, South Florida high school football, and the Miami coaching staff.

PA: Talk about your football background and how you got started in coaching.

JV: I played at Belen for all four years (Class of ’01) and after playing one year at Florida Atlantic, I came back home and got right into coaching and I enjoyed it a lot. I started coaching at Belen, then went over to Archbishop Carroll for six years and that’s really when it took off. I coached some great players there, Rodney Smith at FSU, George Baker at USF, Jeff Scott at Ole Miss. We also had a lot of guys go D-III and 1-AA. It was a really fun experience over there.

PA: It was a tough ending to the season for your team, but there’s no shame in what you guys did in one of the toughest districts in the nation.

JV: It’s a real bonus to the kids that they were able to step in after a tough loss to start the year against Killian, which doesn’t look so bad now considering how Killian has done this season. After that, we had a gut check and it went well. We came back and beat a good Southridge team. We improved each week, but we came up a little bit short. You don’t ever want to put yourself in those tiebreaker situations because the ball could bounce your way or it doesn’t. We just have to do a better job of putting ourselves in that spot, it’s just very difficult in that district.

PA: I know it’s early, but what’s the outlook of next season’s team looking like?

JV: Skill position wise, we return pretty much our whole backfield. Our quarterback, Maurice Alexander was only a sophomore this year and had a great season. I expect even more of him next season. There’s some things you can’t coach and he’s got all of them. He’s a great leader and has incredible football intelligence. Then of course we have this little receiver that everyone wants to talk about, and that’s Ermon Lane. He’s a huge asset and he changes the game. There’s a few young guys who really didn’t get on a roll until later in the season, so I expect our offense to be really explosive next year. Defensively, we have this kid named Cedric Wright, who’s unbelievable; he’s all over the field. We also return linebacker Anthony Wint, who may be the best linebacker in Dade next year.

PA: Let’s talk more about Ermon Lane. What are some things about him that only a coach can see as opposed to somebody watching from the stands?

JV: Ermon’s grown up a lot. As a sophomore last year, he wasn’t really the man because Herb (Waters) was here, but he’s had the target on his back this year and he’s accepted that challenge. He’s the type of player who wants the ball, and luckily I’m the type of guy that will give it to him (laughs). He can make plays when you don’t expect anything to happen. He just wills his way to making it happen and makes everybody around him so much better. It’s a special combination with Lane and Maurice (Alexander). He’s a real smart football player and the two of them make adjustments all the time.

PA: Nearly all the top programs in the nation are after Lane already. What do you think his decision will ultimately come down to?

JV: Lane is the type of kid that will be successful right away, wherever he goes. He’s the type of person that will get to want to know his coaches. Not just the head coach, but also the position coach. Those guys will make the difference. I always tell him—and he does a good job of listening—to surround yourself with good people or he won’t be successful. That’s something that he’s looking at.

PA: Who are some of the players that you guys went up against that really stood out to you?

JV: Realistically, my favorite player to go against all year was number 51 from Northwestern, Marquise Blanchard. Whoever ends up with that kid is getting a steal. With kids like that, it’s a chess match. You have to find ways to account for him, block him, and almost trick him into making mistakes. He has that motor and physicality on both sides of the ball and he doesn’t take a play off. That’s kind of on a lower level, but it’s always fun to go against guys like Yearby, Cook, and the JaQuan Johnson kid. He (JaQuan) puts his team on his back every week. He’s the heart of that team and somehow wills them to become better just by his presence on the field. I’m a big fan of his.

PA: Any predictions for the playoffs?

JV: I’m intrigued to see what happens in 8A. The 6A games are hard to predict. Honestly, the teams who take care of the ball the next two to three weeks are gonna be in Orlando. I expect there to be an 8A team in Orlando, and I expect Northwestern or Central to come out of that dogfight in 6A and get there. Obviously Booker T as well; I’m intrigued to see that game with them against Cocoa.

PA: Who sticks out in 8A?

JV: There’s something about that playoff experience of Columbus. The hot team over the last few weeks has been Killian, and South Dade is also there sitting pretty. Any one of those three teams could pop out of there, but you can always count on experience from Columbus.

PA: What are your thoughts on how Miami has re-established the connection down here in South Florida over the past couple of years?

JV: Coach Golden has done a great job of being involved. Last year at one point, he was at every school, or at least it felt like that. The assistant coaches are more active in the schools than they were before. Coach Golden’s emphasis on it is really going to help the recruiting down here because it seems like they (Miami) had lost touch with what they were trying to do down here. Coach McDonald, the receivers coach, does a great job of being involved, seeing if we need anything, checking up on everything. All of this involvement is enough for coaches to want their kids to play there.
 

Comments (20)

I really encourage you guys to read this. There's a lot of great stuff in there.
 
Great stuff Pete, very interesting, btw I know this is a while back, but I saw Rodney smith mentioned, did we ever recruit him? Or did he just wanna get away
 
Outstanding work, Pete. Sounds like a great guy. (As long as he pushes Lane to the Canes of course)

So what's the scoop with the Blanchard kid from NW?
 
Awesome read and interview Petey Pablo. I like how the last paragraph where he states that it seemed like Miami's prevous coaching staff had "lost touch" with the recruits in the one of the top districts in the damn country, in the same damn area code! Glad to see we are turning the recruiting corner.
 
Last edited:
Great stuff Pete, very interesting, btw I know this is a while back, but I saw Rodney smith mentioned, did we ever recruit him? Or did he just wanna get away
he wasnt um caliber imo at the time....

dont think we recruited him at all..just shook the leaves.

at the time we had hauled in all those wr's and had streeter redshirting..who he compared to in a way.
 
So what's the scoop with the Blanchard kid from NW?
Against Homestead he made every play and went both ways on the lines. Plays DT in high school but is built like a linebacker.
 
Little nit picking but could you edit the interview and put the questions in bold.
 
Good stuff, thanks.


In ref to Blanchard, is he a major D1 kid or more of an overachiever at the HS level?
 
In ref to Blanchard, is he a major D1 kid or more of an overachiever at the HS level?
Don't think he's athletic enough for Miami but he definitely looked D-1 to me.
 
Lane is one of the kids that Golden must get, otherwise I consider his tenure a failure. He has put so much emphasis on South Florida that if you don't land Sony, Lane, and Cook then you haven't done your job.
 
Lane is one of the kids that Golden must get, otherwise I consider his tenure a failure. He has put so much emphasis on South Florida that if you don't land Sony, Lane, and Cook then you haven't done your job.
Oh Ok :confused:
okay that may be an exaggeration, but seriously if you can't land kids like that, you gotta win without players like that otherwise you shouldn't have your job.
 
Lane is one of the kids that Golden must get, otherwise I consider his tenure a failure. He has put so much emphasis on South Florida that if you don't land Sony, Lane, and Cook then you haven't done your job.
Oh Ok :confused:
okay that may be an exaggeration, but seriously if you can't land kids like that, you gotta win without players like that otherwise you shouldn't have your job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_mDTLphIVY


Seriously though Pete, great read. I'm lovin the interviews with local coaches and whatnot. Keep it up.
 
D
I was hammered last night and don't even remember typing that. Sorry ya'll! lol
U are correct. AG has to sign kids in his backyard. The foundation of every class has to be tri county kids. He has done well under the circumstances IMO.

Repped.
 
In ref to Blanchard, is he a major D1 kid or more of an overachiever at the HS level?
Don't think he's athletic enough for Miami but he definitely looked D-1 to me.
Not to be doucher D$ (You are a respected poster), but why the hell do we keep saying "Miami" Material? ****, last time i checked G Paul doesnt fit the mold we are looking at LB (Small, non-athletic etc) and Rodgers is a joke. So what im saying if a KID from Dade county has DV1 prospect written all over them, why not give these kids a better look,, Just saying.
 
In ref to Blanchard, is he a major D1 kid or more of an overachiever at the HS level?
Don't think he's athletic enough for Miami but he definitely looked D-1 to me.
Not to be doucher D$ (You are a respected poster), but why the hell do we keep saying "Miami" Material? ****, last time i checked G Paul doesnt fit the mold we are looking at LB (Small, non-athletic etc) and Rodgers is a joke. So what im saying if a KID from Dade county has DV1 prospect written all over them, why not give these kids a better look,, Just saying.
The short answer is if we want Miami to look a certain way, we have to recruit that way. So while a kid may be better than what Shannon recruited in 2010, he still may not fit the ideal of what we want to build towards. In other words, he isn't Thomas or Grace.

The guy is definitely good, though. Don't know his off-the-the field situation, but in a bigger class he'd be more intriguing. Hope someone gives him a shot.
 
Golden didn't recruit Rodgers, and he had 6 weeks as HC to recruit the Class of 2011, so taking Paul away from Arizona State was a major coup. Paul can be solid here, so it's no knock on him personally. But I am confident Golden wouldn't recruit Paul today vs. Thomas and Grace. At this point in Golden's tenure, his staff is going only after Plan 1a and Plan 1b.
 
To the OP... nice write up Peter.

It's encouraging when I read about local high school coaches say good things about Al Golden and his staff.

It takes years to build solid relationships and as he's finishing his second year Golden is making good progress.
 

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