The Douglas Bulldogs will have a new quarterback under center when the season begins in August.
DHS sophomore Blaze Rose (in the middle) has been named the Bulldogs starting quartback this year replacing Grant Watkins who will move back to tailback. The Bulldogs begin football practice Aug. 6; their first game is Aug 24 at home against Empire. Bruce Whetten/Douglas Dispatch
Rose, 5’7”, 150 pounds, is the son of former DHS quarterback David Rose who had a promising high school career under Keith in the late 1980’s. David, ironically, is now a volunteer assistant with the team adding a new perspective to the coaching staff.
David said Blaze barely started playing football as a freshmen.
“He has very little varsity experience; got in against Bisbee but he comes from good (blood) lines and he’s a good athlete,” Coach Keith said during practice last week.
Keith said he is grateful to Watkins and what he did for the team the past two seasons but that Watkins was basically playing out of position just trying to help the team.
Watkins is now back at his true offensive position, the coach said.
The coach added after watching Blaze in practice last year and seeing his progress, plus knowing his dad and the background there, he felt this was a move he needed to make.
“He throws a great ball,” the coach said. “He himself has improved so much in the weight room. He squats over 400 (pounds). He’s quick, a very intelligent young man and he’s going to fit in with what we want to do offensively.”
The coach said he will not change the offense all that much this year but may run out of the I-formation a little more with Watkins being the I-back.
Keith said he now has the next three years with Blaze at quarterback and the way he’s grasping the game by his senior year, watch out.
“This is a mutual move between Grant, myself and his parents along with Blaze’s dad David,” the coach said. “We have everyone’s blessing. We feel this is a good move.”
The coach also took a moment to praise his linemen who have worked hard in the weight room.
“They’re very coachable,” he said of his linemen. “They’re all squatting well over 400 pounds. … They’re doing everything we ask for.”
Keith said he still doesn’t have some players out for summer ball that he wishes were out.
“Our numbers are decent,” he said. “There are a number of individuals I am disappointed in that are not here but we getting there. … We’re going to work hard this summer and put a product on the field Douglas fans can appreciate.”
The coach added there are going to be quiet a few sophomores on the varsity this year.
“We got good speed,” Keith said. “Dillion (Guerrero) is running a 4.3 40. We’re looking at putting him on the edge out there. That’s as fast as anybody in the conference.”
Nick Ortega will look to join Watkins in the backfield blocking for him at fullback.
When asked how he felt about being named the starting quarterback going into the 2012 season Blaze said it feels pretty good.
“A lot of the guys are picking me up and showing me what to do,” he said. “We’re in this as a team.”
Blaze did not playing football until his freshmen year but said he did throw the ball around with his dad in the backyard prior to his freshmen year.
“The future looks good for us,” he said. “We’re coming together pretty strong with Grant as a running back, our front line and some quick receivers we should be pretty good this year.”
The Bulldogs begin practice Aug. 6. The first game is Aug. 24 at home against Empire.