Ready for Homecoming
J.W. Little, we hardly knew you
Whenever it Raynes, it pours
Catching up on your Readings
Remembering the Mustangs of yesterday
Williams multi-league champ
The mystery behind the man
A flowery talk with Bob LaRose
Sweet perfection in the 1994 season
A flowery talk with Bob LaRose
By Chad Thompson
Twenty questions is a feature where a Western coach is asked a series of questions for our reading public. This week's Homecoming edition is with western defensive co-ordinator Bob LaRose.
LaRose was born in Toronto and raised in Muskoka, Ontario. He started playing football at Toronto's Earl Haige high school. His final year in the game was 1977 when he played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
When asked about the highlight of his playing career LaRose finds an answer difficult. After some thought he decides on a moment two decades ago. "The most exciting moment was in the mid '70s I think the 1972 Western final versus the Regina Roughriders."
LaRose also found it tough to narrow down his favourite highlight as a coach. "We have had many wonderful seasons, there is the perfect season when we won the Vanier [cup]. There are a number of great teams and great games."
LaRose said his position on the Mustangs included many responsibilities. "Other than coaching, the different defensive positions and individual players, it is a process of devising game plans, breaking down films so I can start to develop a game plan from what we see. During the game I have to call all the [defensive] plays."
Of those responsibilities, LaRose said the hardest part of his position is motivating players to practice at the same level at which they play. He added the most frustrating aspect of what he does involves dealing with the media. "It is a slightly tongue in cheek answer, but [it's] the difficulty of the media in understanding the game and the events that occur during it."
LaRose had no trouble identifying his favourite part of the job. "The best part of my position is to work with young student athletes and watch them succeed."
When it comes to game day, it is all about preparation, LaRose said. "It is a matter of making sure all specific game plans are in place and time tabling things to do. Then we have the pre-game meal. After that we develop what we call a hit list or a game plan. We look at game strategies and write down what [plays] we call so I can refer to them."
The thing LaRose looks for most in a player when he recruits them is their will to play. "I look for an intense desire to compete, I look for a strong physical and mental aspect. Most coaches will tell you the one thing you look at in a player is how well they move their feet."
As far as a head coaching spot, LaRose said he will only leave Western if the position is right. "I have some aspirations to be a head coach but the situation has to be a positive one."
For LaRose, the unsung heroes of football are the defensive and offensive linemen and the players who practice but do not dress for the game. He added it always makes him happy to see former players succeed. "I feel a great deal of pride that I had the opportunity to work and help develop the character of a young person."
The thing people misunderstand the most about football players is what it takes to play the game, LaRose said. "The standard cliché is that football players are dumb. In order to play this game, it takes a very intelligent man to grasp the subtle aspects of the game."
In an effort to increase understanding, LaRose explains one of football's many interesting terms the blitz. "It means you send more people than usual from your force unit who are your defensive linemen, linebackers and at times your secondary. You are trying to storm the ramparts by putting a lot of people and pressure on the quarterback and runningback."
LaRose concludes with an explanation of the parallels between football and life.
"The demands that football places on a young man's life is very congruent to the demands he would have to answer to in order to be a functional member of society in family and group situations. You have a reliance on teammates, superiors and other people involved in order to achieve a goal."