DeKALB – There were times after Matt Weckler was named DeKalb’s football coach when he was laughed at after introducing himself around the school.
Students couldn’t believe he would take the coaching job at a program that has made the playoffs just once – 2010 – since 1989.
What Weckler wants to do is change the culture at the school. He wants it to be a program kids want to play at, where the playoffs are an expectation.
Wednesday night at River Heights Golf Course, Weckler introduced his staff, a staff he hopes can help change the culture.
“Our thing is to change the atmosphere of DeKalb High School athletics, make it more of a community thing and community-driven,” Weckler said. “We want to get the community to want DeKalb athletics to be good and to push kids to participate.”
Weckler’s entire football staff of offensive coordinator Tyler Bell, defensive coordinator Dan Smaha, Tyrone Williams, Teyun Curtis and Dan Sanders is new.
There aren’t any holdovers from last season’s staff under former coach Todd Hallaron, who was the interim coach for one year after Marty Sanders resigned in May 2012.
Smaha and Bell came with Weckler from Belvidere, as did freshman coach Bob White. Smaha coached with Weckler the past four seasons at Belvidere.
“I believe in what coach Weckler stands for, what he implemented as far as when we were at Belvidere,” Smaha said. “If I didn’t believe in what he was doing, I wouldn’t have came down here to help him when he asked me to come down. He has the kids’ best interests in mind, the communities’ best interest in mind. He’s going to do good things here.”
One thing Weckler is doing when it comes to practice is holding individual and fundamental drills with the entire program together before splitting up the varsity, sophomore and freshman teams.
He’s also running the same system throughout the entire program, and is working to get the DeKalb Bengals involved as well. Offensively, the Barbs will be running the triple option, which is what Weckler ran at Belvidere. The triple option revolves around running the ball with multiple backs and providing deception to confuse defenses.
“Kids knew what it is,” Weckler said. “Terminology, by the time they get to the high school it was just getting better, doing the little things.”
One thing Curtis, who came over from Genoa-Kingston, noted was the offense’s quick tempo.
“I will say the tempo of the offense is through the roof,” he said. “I’ve never seen it work so well. The kids are real excited for football season.”