2019 Outlook: Coach Jason Wroble
Last season, Head Coach Jason Wroble guided his Milledgeville Missiles to a perfect regular season, their first since 2008. This gave Coach Wroble his first conference title as the head coach of the Missiles, and in the process he was awarded Coach of the Year honors. The Missiles fell in overtime to eventual state champion Forreston 22-20 in the second round, and lost a very talented senior class to graduation. Here is a Q&A session with Coach Wroble, and his outlook on the 2019 Missiles.
#1. What is your overall outlook/goal for the 2019 Milledgeville Missiles? “The 2019 Missiles have the same goals as the previous teams, make the postseason and earn as many games as we can. We have a lot of new faces that are excited to prove themselves. We will probably experience some growing pains, but I believe our kids have the potential to surprise some teams who think we graduated all our talent.”
#2. You’ve had a couple of fun seasons with the last senior group to leave. Highlighted by a 3 point lose to Marquette in 2016 who went onto play Forreston in state and obviously the nail bitter against Forreston last year. What kind of system do you and the coaching staff hope to keep in the locker room and on the field to keep that winning mentality in this young group? “As a staff our goal is to keep high expectations for our kids. Whether those expectations are in the weight room, during film study, on the practice field or during games. As coaches we want our kids to realize that success just doesn’t happen, and the time needs to be put in to earn success. The 2019 Missiles team is younger and inexperienced, but the past few seasons these Missiles have had former teammates who were excellent examples for what it takes to experience success.”
#3. It’s a new season, a clean slate. With the new North South Division split what do you think comes with getting play teams like EPC, Forreston, and West Carroll? And what was your personal opinion on the move? “The conference division realignment was the right move at this juncture for our conference. With the loss of teams to co-op’s and 8 man, the realignment of schedules would have resulted in the traditional “small” schools playing several of the traditional “big” schools in cross over games. Since most of the teams are 1A and the “big/small” match ups were going to become more common, it made sense to restore some of the traditional rivalries and to set up the divisions geographically. It is exciting to bring back the games against West Carroll and Eastland two neighboring schools that we haven’t played in 15 years (or so).”
#4. Obviously, both you and Stockton have lost some big name players. Right off the bat, probably two biggest players in Boyer and Dvorak. As you know, Stockton loved that establish the run with Dvorak, before going to the air. Are you ready for maybe a slightly different Stockton offense and what are you looking at with the first drive with the football tomorrow night? “We aren’t sure what Stockton will look like this year. As we understand they have a new play caller and as you mentioned their “go to” back for the past few years, Dvorak, has graduated. We have had to prepare for many different looks and schemes in out pre-season prep. In the early parts of the game, especially in week one we don’t really know what our team “is”, gauging our speed and physicality will be key.”
#5. You play at EPC week 4 and then the following week host the defending state champions, the Forreston Cards. With a younger group obviously everything must be taken in strides, but with the new divisions this will most likely become the norm for most of these payers for years to come. What do you tell players going into this season to keep them mentally ready for the long schedule? “As you know, playing in the NUIC your schedule will always be tough and the kids know that. To prepare for the grind that is the NUIC, it is important that we focus week to week. There is no team you can look past and need to respect all. As coaches we need to instill that attitude in the kids weekly.”
#6. As last years NUIC Coach of the Year, obviously any coach will say, I would’ve never been in this position without my team and my staff. Going into your 10th season, how important is it for you as a head coach to surround yourself and your players with a coaching staff that will share your same goals and grind out a full season by your side, and also what are you most proud of within the program after 10 years. “After 10 years at the Missile’s helm I am most proud that we have been able to keep the program going. We went through some serious number issues during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Our program was staying alive week to week and we even had to forfeit a game. Although we struggled on the field during those seasons, the kids who played put on the Missile’s jerseys have a special place in my heart. It would have been easy for those kids to not play, but they took the field despite tough odds. Those players kept our program afloat and are directly connected to the success of the last few years.”