Jaureguito recalls team with 17 dedicated players
Former South Tahoe High football coach Tim Jaureguito expressed his support Thursday for the foundation that Eric Beavers is trying to build with the Viking football program.
Beavers, a second-year head coach, has run into resistance from some parents and STHS upperclassmen while implementing policies of accountability and commitment during off-season training.
“I don’t think they could have a better coach there,” Jaureguito said. “I’m hoping the administration will support him, see what he’s trying to do and see the overall picture.
“I think he’s headed in the right direction. You look at two or three years down the road, because he’s only going to get better.”
No coach better understands what Beavers is experiencing than Jaureguito. In the early 1990s Jaureguito’s rigid practices and off-season demands thinned the Viking roster on a yearly basis.
In fact, one year Jaureguito and his staff made do with 17 varsity players.
“We didn’t do anything differently than what Eric is doing. Kids who made a commitment became a part of the team and lasted,” Jaureguito said. “Tons of people initially say they will make the commitment. Those who make the commitment and those who don’t, it’s almost like Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest.”
In January, Beavers had more than 60 players agree to a more accountable and intensive off-season workout regimen than was expected prior to an 0-9 season. But by the end of the school year in June, half of those players were unable to follow through on team commitments. They either left the squad on their own or were asked not to return.
“I’ve had some kids say that it’s not fun,” Beavers said last week. “What I’ve tried to express is that we’re an educational institution; this is not recreation time.
“It’s not going to the lake on Saturday. It’s about joy and learning what it’s like when you strive to reach your potential and come close to doing that.”
When Jaureguito’s 1991 team advanced to the Nevada state championship, his roster contained barely enough players to fill out the offensive and defensive units — 23. However, that athletic bunch included many players who performed on both sides of the ball.
“During my time at South Tahoe that was the turning point in the program,” Jaureguito said. “We took those 17 tough kids (from the year before), and at that point they started to believe in the process being that you’ve got to work hard, and if you make the commitment, you become successful.”
Jaureguito, however, said that it would be premature to promote Beavers’ dedicated group of 30 to varsity since 20 of those players are sophomores.
“I think it would be detrimental to put that group on the varsity field,” Jaureguito said. “You don’t want them to get trashed on the scoreboard and physically beat up week after week. If that nucleus that Eric has, if they stay together, they’ll end up being tough kids and being believers.”
When numbers declined and Beavers’ suggestion of dropping a varsity team for a season was rebuffed by the school administration, the former University of Nevada quarterback proposed coaching the “dedicated” group at the junior varsity level while appointing other staff members to coach the varsity.
“I don’t think what Eric is asking any more than any other coach is asking in any sport,” Jaureguito said. “If they don’t like it, they don’t need to be a part of the program. They can find another sport.”
When Jaureguito began his second stint as Viking coach in 1995, he modified his practices — not his off-season workouts — to keep more players.
“We didn’t do after-practice conditioning,” he said. “We tried to do a bulk of the conditioning in the drills that we ran during practice and we didn’t run them in the ground. The kids responded well to that.”
Earlier in his career at STHS, Jaureguito had his Vikings run the infamous “Hill” surrounding their bowl-shaped field and line progressions after practice. Since many players played the entire game, the unusual conditioning drills were necessary.
But when Jaureguito implemented a two-platoon system during his second coach run with the Vikings, the conditioning changed as well.
However, Jaureguito still asked his players to make a May through November commitment to the sport besides enrolling in a weight lifting course during the school year. Before practices started in mid-August, players were required to participate in spring practices, passing leagues and summer camps.
“We made it fun for them. It was a good time for bonding and camaraderie,” Jaureguito said. ‘We always seemed to get a good head start on people.”
That head start for Beavers has run into a line of resistance as big as the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive front.
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