FORT WAYNE – On a warm July evening, there was Kyle Lindsay on the Bishop Luers practice football field where he had practically grown up. But for this annual summer camp with Knights players, plus young, future players, Lindsay seemed out of his element.
Instead of leading the team as a player to wins and state titles like he did from 1998 to 2001, or helping the team as an assistant coach, Lindsay pushed a water cart. Then he tried to track down helmets and talk with parents.
There’s little coaching going on two weeks before practices begin. That’s the new life for Lindsay, with a new job title and new responsibilities.
This is what is different for me, overseeing everything and making sure everybody has equipment, Lindsay said. Normally I would be down there just coaching. I am definitely learning on the fly.
The camp was designed to help the present and the future of Luers football, giving an update for some and first-look for others on the fundamentals of the game. About 200 players, half of whom are high school players, worked out with Luers assistant coaches as Lindsay observed.
Camp is a good push for the start of the season, Lindsay said. The hardest part was getting registration set up and getting coaches to help work this.
Lindsay is among a half-dozen new head football coaches in northeast Indiana, but he stands out. He takes over a Luers program that he used to lead on the field and one that his father, Matt, was in charge of for three decades (and led to nine state titles) before being fired midseason in 2012.
Kyle Lindsay, who served as interim coach for one game last year, officially took over as head coach in January and replaced another interim coach in Steve Keefer, who has returned to his role as assistant coach after helping guide the Knights to their fourth straight Class 2A state championship.
Obviously I wanted him to get the job, Luers sophomore quarterback Noah Wezensky said of Lindsay. I am familiar with him, and we get along pretty well.
Now the program is in Kyle Lindsay’s hands. So things such as paperwork, parent meetings and equipment retrieval fall into his lap. It’s something he saw his father do from 1987 to 2012, but maybe took a little for granted. Practically born to coach, Lindsay is getting acclimated to the behind-the-scenes administrative work that often goes unnoticed.
After three weeks of practices and a scrimmage against Catholic school rival Bishop Dwenger, Lindsay will make his debut as the full-time head coach Friday at home against Snider.
Lindsay led the Knights to a win in his previous stint in charge last year, but the 27-7 win over Wayne was later forfeited.
There’s only been a little bit of a change, Luers senior quarterback Quinn Cook said. From coach Keefer to him, some play-calling has changed, but it is still the same playbook. He has only made two or three changes, but they have been very positive for our team. We have become more of a team under his control and more uniform, and we do everything together.
On the field, Lindsay doesn’t expect much to change from his stint the last few years as assistant coach and offensive coordinator. He called the plays on offense last year and will do so again in 2013 as the Knights move up to 3A in search of a fifth straight state title.
I enjoy watching other positions, whereas in the past the quarterbacks have followed me around, Lindsay said. I will still coach them, but I will have a little more flexibility working with other kids which I am really excited about. Having that kind of continuity with the kids makes it easier, especially in the offseason.
The coaching staff has remained virtually unchanged, missing only the recently married Brent Egts. It also includes defensive coordinator Matt Millhouse, who has been on staff about the same time as Lindsay (six seasons) and is a former teammate.
We might have a new philosophy going into this year, Lindsay said. Coach Keefer is an old-school, throwback we are going to pound at it, and you are going to stop it. If we have that team coming back, we might have stuck with that mentality. We have a young line, and we will see how quickly they will adapt to this level. Are we going to be able to run the ball as effectively as we should at this level and are we going to be able to protect the quarterback? That will kind of weed itself out as to what kind of identity we are going to have.
From an X-and-O standpoint, there’s really not going to be a lot of changes. With coach Keefer, we had a philosophy, and he was cool with whatever I called as long as I stuck with that.