This Saturday Carroll College heads to Billings to take on Rocky Mountain College. The game serves as a reunion between Mike Van Diest and former assistant Jason Petrino, but don’t expect many pleasantries from Coach Van Diest.
Jason Petrino and Mike Van Diest share a history that dates back to the year 2000, when Carroll’s headman brought him on to coach defensive backs.
“After our first year,” Coach Van Diest said, “he stayed on our staff for three years and we had a lot of success that can be contributed to Jason’s work ethic.”
In 2002, both men helped lead Carroll to the program’s first national title. However, before Saturday’s game they will not reminisce about the good times.
“I don’t talk to coaches very much [before the game],” Van Diest said. “Obviously, I have a lot of respect for Jason and we’ll probably talk more after the game, but I’m not a very friendly guy on Saturday.”
As far as game strategy, defensive tackle Kyle Smith doesn’t expect many new plays, he’s more concerned with aggressiveness from Rocky’s O-line.
“Try to be more finesse,” Smith said. “If we get into the game and [the offensive line] decides to be conservative then we have to be aggressive. We just have to base it on the game.”
Carroll’s offense bulges with confidence after last week’s 17-point offensive explosion in the fourth quarter. Senior wide receiver Kyle Griffith says don’t expect the air full of footballs.
“I can say what I want to say now,” Griffith said. “It’s all up to the coaches and what they think is going to be right, but a good balance is always nice.”
Despite Rocky Mountain’s first-year head coach spending three seasons under Coach Van Diest and understanding his tendencies, a win this week comes down to one word: Execution.
“It’s about what we can do,” Coach Van Diest said. “How can we execute? Regardless of what scheme we call.”