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BYU coach keeps eye on Wolverine players

ERICK STUDENICKA

Truckee residents aren’t the only people who have recognized the ability and skill level of the Tahoe-Truckee High School football team’s players. Division I football coaches are beginning to take notice as well, as Brigham Young University sent one of its coaches, Barry Lamb, to watch the Wolverines’ practice last Thursday.

Lamb said that, because of NCAA recruiting regulations, he could not say which Wolverine players he was eying as potential BYU players. BYU, located in Provo, Utah, has a Div. I football program and won the national championship in 1984.

“Because of NCAA rules, I can’t comment on which players we might recruit,” said Lamb, the Cougars’ secondary coach. “I can only say I’m here to evaluate the talent of some of the players on the Truckee football team.”

It’s likely, however, that Lamb was at practice to watch Wolverine linebacker Dan DeCoite and tight end Mike Detwiler. Both players confirmed to the Sierra Sun that they have received mail from BYU informing them about the Cougars’ football program and they both knew Lamb would be attending practice Thursday.

Lamb, 42, a former University of Oregon assistant, said that, no matter how impressed he might be with a Wolverine player, a possible scholarship offer would still be several weeks away.

“No player can sign a scholarship offer until the first Wednesday in February,” Lamb said. “I can’t even offer a player a trip to visit the BYU campus until film has been evaluated by other coaches.”

Lamb, who is in charge of recruiting high school players for BYU in the Tahoe area, southern California and Nevada, said it’s important to evaluate a player “in person” rather than strictly from game film.

“We like to know a lot about our players, ” Lamb said. “There is much more to a player than just height and size. You might be interested in them, but you also have to know if they have any interest in you.”

Lamb said BYU had a “high teens” amount of scholarships to offer – an amount which doesn’t leave any margin of error when recruiting.

“With that number of athletic scholarships, you can’t afford to make mistakes (when recruiting a player), whether it’s in academics, athletics or social interaction,” Lamb said. “Before we offer a scholarship, we have to know that the player is the right fit for the university.”

Lamb, who was combining his trip to Truckee with a visit to Reno to see another potential recruit, said it’s not unusual for BYU to recruit a player from a smaller school like TTHS.

“Obviously, a city with one million people is going to have more football players in it than a town of 10,000 people, but we have to see all the kids,” Lamb said. “Coming from a state with a lot of small towns, we try not to overlook those players from a small school.”

Lamb said he wasn’t afraid of other schools also recruiting Truckee’s top players.

“It happens – I’d hope they are being recruited by other schools,” Lamb said. “BYU is a top-20 program, so I’d expect other top schools to also want the top players. Every once in a while, a top player isn’t recruited, but it doesn’t happen very often.”

Decoite said that he tried not to allow the fact Lamb was in attendance Thursday affect him during practice.

“I try to play with the same intensity every time and practice at 110 percent, but I might have put some extra into the effort,” said DeCoite, who has also received information from California, Colorado, Air Force, Oregon, San Diego State and Nevada.

Detwiler said he couldn’t help but be “more up” for a practice with a Division I coach in attendance.

“It didn’t make me nervous, but I stepped it up, though,” said Detwiler. “I think the whole team knew (Coach Lamb) was there and it got everyone going.”

Lamb, who couldn’t stay in Truckee for the ROP game Saturday because he had to return to Utah for Saturday’s BYU game vs. Texas-El Paso (a 14-3 loss), said on Monday that his trip to Truckee had been “worthwhile.”

“I wasn’t disappointed that I came out,” Lamb said. “There’s no question I was impressed by the talent – my evaluation was the first step; now I can take it to the next level.”

Lamb said he was also impressed by Truckee’s overall program.

“I knew as soon as I saw the weight room that this was a serious program,” Lamb said. “The team is obviously committed to winning.”


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