|« QB sees 'huge difference' in Cornell||Illinois FCS programs have challenges and promise »|
Love of the Valpo game pushes Wysocki
There were plenty of reasons for Bobby Wysocki to walk away from football after last season.
The Valparaiso senior had the option to return for a fifth year this season, but after going through an 0-11 year that started off with a coaching change and a position switch, most players would’ve taken two extra classes their last semester and bolted.
Plenty of reasons told Wysocki to go, but he only needed one reason to stay.
“I believe in this coaching staff and I believe in what we are doing here,” Wysocki said. “A lot of people asked me why I just didn’t quit. I love football.”
Wysocki’s love of the game was tested in training camp last season when new coach Dale Carlson asked the Thornwood native to switch from quarterback to running back. To say Wysocki was frustrated with the position change would be an understatement, but he pushed forward because that’s what his coach wanted him to do.
“I just love the sport and whatever I can do to help the team is what I’m going to do,” Wysocki said. “I just want to play.”
Wysocki figures to get plenty of playing time this season as he has earned the top spot on the depth chart at running back. Jabril Baker was expected to compete for the primary back, but a torn ACL on the fourth night of camp will cost Baker his second consecutive year after sitting out last season when he transferred from Wabash. When Wysocki posed for his Media Day picture with his position group on Thursday morning, it was the fifth-year senior and a bunch of newcomers.
“We have a new running backs coach and a new crop of freshmen, so I’m just trying to teach everyone what we are doing out here,” Wysocki said. “Sometimes the best way for me to learn is by teaching.”
Wysocki’s “team-first” attitude is something that won over Carlson immediately when the former Dominican coach took the job last season. With Eric Lemon and Nate Goergen (both players have since left the program) slated to play quarterback last year, Carlson went with his gut and moved Wysocki to running back as a way to get the senior playmaker on the field.
“Bobby epitomizes the type of player that we want at Valparaiso,” Carlson said. “You really have to love football to endure what Bobby has gone through in his career and keep coming back.”
The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine for Wysocki when it comes to his career coming to a close, but there is a deeper passion he is looking forward to. Wysocki wants to be part of the team that turns around the fortunes for the Valparaiso football program, and he said the Crusaders are getting close.
“I’m going to be happy to say that I was part of the process of putting it all back together,” Wysocki said. “I like where we’re headed and it’s important for me to be there when it all comes together.”