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Jays look to spark defense by naming Cole coordinator

The Jefferson City Jays have an offense that can put points on the board. They just need a defense that can keep them off it.

The solution may be returning to the past.

Looking to get back to the tough, hard-hitting defenses that helped the Jays win 10 state titles, Jefferson City head coach Ted LePage announced Friday former head coach Ron Cole is going to be the Jays’ new defensive coordinator.

“I’m excited about it,” LePage said. “… The amount of kids he impacted and what he did, as far as being a defensive coordinator, we’d like to tap into that.

“Hopefully, he’ll bring some of his magic to the 2011 season.”

Cole, who served as defensive coordinator under Pete Adkins from 1975-94, coached the Jays from 1995-2001, taking them to state championship games in 1997 and 98. He won the last of the Jays’ 10 state titles in 1997 with a 23-19 win over Parkway Central. Cole had a 66-19 record as head coach.

“There are some things that we feel Ron can bring to our team,” LePage said. “We feel our staff is a really good staff, and we just feel that this is something that can really add to it.”

Barry Blank had the title of the defensive coordinator for the last five years under LePage.

Jefferson City went 6-5 last year and ended the season with a 28-14 loss to Francis Howell in the Class 6 sectionals. LePage said there would be no other changes to the coaching staff.

“At this point in time, we felt that our program needed a little shot in the arm from a defensive standpoint,” LePage said. “And Ron will give us that.”

The Jays currently run a 4-3 defensive scheme, but LePage said it will be up to Cole and the other defensive coaches to make any changes to the scheme.

“We need to let coach Cole and our defensive staff sit down and work through the strengths of the players we have and work together to put together what the best plan is at this point in time,” LePage said. “Right now, we’re in that stage to see what personnel fits the front he want to run and the coverages he wants to run.”

LePage has seen Cole in action, as he served as offensive coordinator for two years under Adkins and four years under Cole. And LePage knows what the veteran coach can do on the defensive side of the ball. But it’s Cole’s meticulous attention to detail and game-planning LePage admires the most.

“Anytime you’re a good defensive coordinator, there’s a system that you run and a protocal to what you do each week,” LePage said. “That was one thing that he was always good at, putting a game plan together and at the same time, he was good at making adjustments in the game.”

Another thing LePage likes about Cole’s defenses is their toughness and constant pressure applied to quarterbacks, something key with today’s spread offenses.

“He loved getting after quarterbacks,” LePage said. “If you’ve ever watched a Ron Cole-coached defense, he was going to come after the quarterback.

“He was going to make his life miserable.”

Even though Cole has been out of organized coaching for quite some time, LePage believes it won’t matter once the new season rolls around.

“He was probably ahead of his time with his stunt-blitz packages,” LePage, who said the current staff will remain intact next season, said. “Even though he’s been away for a while, he’s really excited to get back in here and get going.”

Cole was unavailable for comment Friday.

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