When Simeon Nash was hired as the new Gilroy High football coach in early May, he knew the program was running behind when it came to the off-season strength and conditioning program. High school football programs typically start their lifting sessions in mid-January or early February, so Nash has been diligent in trying to get the Mustangs up to strength.
“I’m big into weight room preparation, but coming here in May we’re kind of behind when it comes to weight lifting and implementing the ways of the program that will help us be successful in the regular season,” he said. “We’re trying to catch up, and it’s actually coming along really well. But we still have a long way to go.”
Nash spent the last four years as an assistant coach on Pinole Valley High’s varsity team, mostly on defense. A strength and conditioning coach, he served in that capacity for former Pinole Valley standout Travis Feeney, who was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Nash said he and Feeney message each other occasionally to this day.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach kids who have gone on to play in college and the pros, and those moments when you’re invited to a Draft Day party, it makes you feel like you had a significant part in that young man’s life—that’s the real reward,” he said. “Winning is winning, and I’ve done plenty of winning in my life. But I’m more interested in having kids come back 10 years from now who have done things in life.”
Nash inherits a Gilroy squad that went undefeated and won the first CCS title in program history two years ago to finishing 1-9 and in last place in the Gabilan Division in 2018. While Nash didn’t get into specifics about the won-loss column, he promised to deliver consistency all across the board. Consistency in terms of showing up, effort and doing things in a professional manner.
“I want kids to learn and be more than just about football,” he said. “I want them to be about character, and we’ll use football as an avenue to teach character, teamwork, delayed gratification. The things they learn through the sport will hopefully carry on to other avenues of their lives.”
The 34-year-old Nash said he has been pleased with the team’s showing in a couple of 7 on 7 tournaments, but that continual improvement from his players is necessary. Expect Gilroy to incorporate some use of a spread offense since it is firmly entrenched in the high school and college level game. Pinole Valley has had tremendous success over the years running a spread attack.
“For the most part nowadays you have to have some spread formations and have success with it in getting kids to college,” he said. “In college, you have to be somewhat knowledgeable with that kind of formation.”
Nash said 35 players are consistently showing up for strength and conditioning workouts, and he expects to have a roster size of around 45 by the start of the season. But more so than quantity, Nash emphasizes the quality of each individual holding the greatest value of all.
“Numbers to me are not as important as the type of people you have on the team,” he said.
Nash has been impressed with seniors Richard Delapaz and Tanner Eastus along with sophomore Jaydon Perkins. Eastus plays quarterback and with more polish has the potential to play in college, Nash said, while Delapaz has displayed a strong work ethic.
“He’s a kid I can see at the next level as a slot receiver,” Nash said. “A Wes Welker, Julian Edelman type player who is quick on his feet and has a knack to get open.”
Nash is also high on Perkins, the backup quarterback who Nash said will “be one of those kids we’re going to build our program around.”