Pride's new coach encouraged by team talent

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Tue., Aug. 28, 2012
Coach Joseph Asermelly explains a play to QB Tylor Genest. Photos by D. Coffey.
Coach Joseph Asermelly explains a play to QB Tylor Genest. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Quinebaug Pride's starting defensive line was up against their own offensive players on the practice field in Putnam on Aug. 24. Their first scrimmage was scheduled for Aug. 25 with Smithfield, R.I. Head coach Joseph Asermelly was throwing one play after another at them. “We're just trying to give our defense something to see before Smithfield steps out on the field,” he said. The quarterback tried a quick pass to the outside edge, but the defense broke it up.

“Smithfield runs a spread offense and we run more of a pro-style,” said Asermelly. “We are trying to prepare our defense. They have to be ready to handle anything. We're trying to mix it up as much as possible.”

This is Asermelly's first year as head coach with the Pride. He and three assistant coaches are turning students from three different schools into a unified whole. Approximately 20 Ellis Tech students, 12 Putnam students and another dozen from Tourtellotte High School make up the Pride roster. “Communication is a big thing,” Asermelly said. “Deb Spinelli [The Thompson Athletic Director] and Michelle Murray [Ellis' AD] do a nice job of working with us.”

Assisted by Jeff Seney, Chris Hehir and Bernie Norman, Asermelly has been working with what has been a run-heavy offense. “We've had to create receivers but we're encouraged with the talent and depth we've seen at that position,” he said. “We definitely have good running backs. We'll have to keep those legs fresh, so those guys should all get their touches.”

The defensive line is anchored up front with defensive ends Niko and Higgins. Kyle Norton is a returning three-year starter. “We're anchored up front,” Asermelly said. “We feel our front seven is pretty strong.” The Pride's starting quarterback will be Putnam's Tylor Genest.

The second week of preseason training consisted of double sessions. Players were learning new plays and signals. They sprinted and lifted weights. Every play was an opportunity to teach something new to the team. “We want practices to be harder than the games,” Asermelly said. “When they step on the field for the game, it's show time. It's prime time.”

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