March 26, 2010
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CORALVILLE, Iowa — The name Pat Ryan might not be familiar to many University of Iowa football fans, but the high school where he coaches — Metamora, Ill. — should ring a bell.
Hawkeye junior tight end Brad Herman played for Ryan at Metamora and on Friday, Ryan was one of the guest speakers at the Iowa Football Clinic held at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.
“This is extra special, yes, because Brad was one of the best players to ever come out of Metamora High School, without question,” Ryan said, moments after competing his presentation titled, Shotgun Option/Veer. “It’s also extra special because we see the University of Iowa staff as being a class group of people. From the moment we’ve been here, we’ve been treated like we were as important as anybody else that walked through the doors. You can’t fake that. They have that kind of family atmosphere here.”
Approximately 450 coaches will attend the two-day clinic. The two keynote speakers Friday evening are UI defensive coordinator Norm Parker and Joe Philbin, former assistant coach at the UI, who is now offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.
Coaches from nine different high schools spoke, including Ryan, Andy Means (Millard South, Neb.), Jay McKinstrey (Pella, Iowa), Steve Jorgensen (Kimberly, Wis.), Dave Holdiman (Marshalltown, Iowa), Curt and Todd Bladt (Harlan, Iowa), Don Hicks (Stanton, Iowa), Pat Mahoney (DeSmet Jesuit, Mo.) and Peter Rameh (Ankeny, Iowa).
“When you’re a presenter, you kind of secure what you truly believe in because you’re putting it on the line in front of your peers,” Ryan said. “I like to spend more time in the chairs listening to presenters. This is a good chance to share ideas and participate with people that do the same thing you do. It’s a chance to share ideas and feel like a professional — for coaches that is important. Coaching is a tough gig, it doesn’t matter what level it is.”
Curt Bladt has been head coach at Harlan for 32 seasons. During that time, he led the Cyclones to 29 playoff appearances, 19 state championship games and 11 state titles. Bladt spoke on drills for the offensive line.
“I like to spend more time in the chairs listening to presenters. This is a good chance to share ideas and participate with people that do the same thing you do. It’s a chance to share ideas and feel like a professional — for coaches that is important. Coaching is a tough gig, it doesn’t matter what level it is.”
Pat Ryan, head caoch
Metamora (Ill.) High School
“Believe me, we don’t get very much if those guys up front aren’t functioning,” Bladt said. “We emphasize that our offensive linemen are our skill people up front. We’re going to talk about what goes on up front.”
Bladt also has an alumnus who played for the Hawkeyes, the most recent being Michael Burger, from 1995-98.
Even someone like Bladt, with 11 state championships, finds profit in the Iowa Clinic.
“You’re never too old to learn,” Bladt said. “We’ve picked up many things from clinics. I didn’t come up with a lot of new things in football. The very first year I coached, we went 10-1 and they had me speak at a clinic. I said at the clinic, `you know, we were 10-1 running this offense and I got the offense from a guy down in Maryville, Mo., who was 0-9.”
Bladt said he enjoys coming to Iowa because “these are good people.” He also likes to see former players continue their careers in Iowa City.
“Except for the fact that the jerseys are black and gold, and those are Atlantic’s colors,” Bladt said with a laugh.
Harlan and Atlantic are rival members of the Hawkeye 10 Conference.
Ryan enjoyed following the Hawkeyes during their 11-2 run last season that included a victory in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
“It’s great football and it was exciting,” Ryan said. “Brad’s representing our community and we’re so excited for him. This is a great place to be.”
The clinic continues Saturday with demonstrations by the UI football coaching and strength and conditioning staffs in the indoor practice facility.