Sacred Heart football’s 2019 season is something the program looks to forget quickly. However, its biggest weakness, a lack of personnel, may have churned out one of its best assets for the upcoming season.
That asset is quarterback Andrew Grubbs.
Grubbs, who was just a freshman last season, was thrown into the role of quarterback after original starter Cal Baugh broke his collarbone during the seventh game of the season.
Luckily for Grubbs, the position change was not a complete shock since he saw a few snaps under center for some wildcat formations.
“He was our running back, but like the third or fourth game, we had a couple of packages almost,” Sacred Heart coach Ed Smith said. “We would run out there quick and snap it to him, and he would run or get a couple of passes, but that was just something to change the flow of the game.”
Quickly Smith realized that Grubbs had the potential to be a true dual-threat quarterback for the Crusaders.
“At that point, we moved Grubbs full-time to quarterback and adjusted a little bit what we were doing offensively to fit his athleticism,” Smith said. “Looking at him going into what we were hoping was spring practice and moving into this fall, we have just said that he is a good dual-threat. He can run. He is one of the kids on the team that has a chance to score from 50 yards out. He throws the ball well. He’s a catcher and baseball player. He’s a good all-around athlete. He’s a competitor.”
Even though Grubbs showed lots of potential at quarterback during the season, Smith only had enough time to explain to Grubbs the plays rather than be able to show Grubbs how to play quarterback.
“In the last two or three games, it wasn’t much coaching going on. It was more teaching and trying to put scheme and plays in,” Smith said. “Just so he knew what we were doing but as far as how to do it.
“Last year he would snap the ball, and if we had a running play call, we would say this is what you’re doing or if it was a passing play, we would tell him who he was throwing it to. Now we are trying to get to a point where he can work the field for us, make the checks, get us in the right place, and just coach him on what he is seeing.”
In that three game span, Grubbs rushed for 257 yards and a touchdown and passed for 215 yards and a touchdown.
According to Grubbs, his only concern last season was to help his team win and try and not throw any interceptions.
“I don’t even think last year I had a handle on it,” Grubbs said. “My main goal was to help the team. I don’t think last year I was really ever comfortable with it until really the last game. Going in, I knew our game plan and everything, and I knew we could work off that.”
But since that last game, Grubbs has embraced the role and devoted significant time to learning the position from watching YouTube videos to having his wide receivers and running backs meet with him before practice to run routes.
“Pretty early in the summer when we finished school, I texted coach, and he sent me a bunch of YouTube videos to work on,” Grubbs said. “I texted some of the running backs and wide receivers to come out 30 minutes early and work on those like the footwork and the dropback and throwing motion.”
However, Grubb’s primary focus has been learning and understanding defenses.
“(I’ve concentrated on) reading defense and linebacker blitzes and reading safeties and cornerbacks,” Grubbs said. “That’s pretty much what I have learned so far. Even though we have had practice for a couple of weeks, this summer the coaches have been helping to read the linebackers and zones and more stuff like that.
“(I’ve also worked on) being on the run with bootlegs and stuff like that. Working with my running backs on hitting their holes and getting with the receivers to throw it where I need to throw it on their routes.”
Grubbs has also worked on changing his throw so that he can have a quicker release.
“Last season, I was dropping my arm way too low like Tim Tebow,” Grubb said. “Everyone talked about how his delivery was way too slow, and I’ve been trying to get my arm to go straight up instead of dropping it low. I’m working on my mechanics with the spiral and the deep balls.”
Heading into the 2020 season, Grubbs believes he has way more confidence and that his main goal is to help snap Sacred Heart’s 11-game losing streak.
“I’m a lot more confident than last year,” Grubbs said. “It would be very emotional knowing how hard I have worked in the past two years and knowing how hard my teammates have worked for that and will work, it’ll be a very happy moment. I know it’s going to come.”
Like Grubbs, Smith has strong confidence in his young quarterback’s ability. While Smith understands that Grubbs will face many trials and learning curves that he knows his young quarterback will become Sacred Heart’s future for success.
“I think he is catching on well,” Smith said. “It’s going to take him some time in the season, but hopefully, as a 10th grader starting this season, he will get better.”