September 6, 2012Purdue quarterback Robert Marve has an extra bounce in his step, one that can be detected from more than 1,000 miles away.“He’s just happy to finally be healthy and being able to show the things he can really do,” said Plant High coach Robert Weiner, who communicates with his former quarterback almost daily.After two ACL tears, the second taking away a majority of Marve’s 2010 season, he was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Now, it’s time to make the most of that opportunity.
“You have to understand football is just a sport, but I know a lot of people get caught up in it,” Marve said. “I’m just looking forward to having fun. I’m finally healthy and bouncing around like a kid again. I feel good about that and whatever happens this year — I’m just going to go out swinging as hard as I can.”On Purdue’s depth chart, not much has changed at the quarterback position from last season. Officially, Marve remains the backup. Starter Caleb TerBush was suspended for the season-opening game against FCS team Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, giving Marve the start. Despite throwing for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns in the 48-6 victory, Marve will not start Saturday’s nationally televised game against Notre Dame (3:30 p.m., NBC, Ch. 8). TerBush will start, with Marve and third-string quarterback Rob Henry also expected to play. That was the plan going into the season and it remains in place. “Robert is going to play a lot for us, but we’re going to keep things the way they are now just for continuity sake,” Purdue offensive coordinator Gary Nord said recently. “If he goes in there and is hot, he’ll stay in there and play.”
Marve’s first ACL tear occurred during a workout when he arrived on Purdue’s campus after transferring from the University of Miami after his freshman season. He made his Boilermakers debut at Notre Dame in the 2010 opener, completing 31-of-42 passes for 220 yards with two interceptions and one rushing touchdown.
The second ACL tear came three games later. The injuries cost Marve quality playing time even when he was on the field last season. The typical year-long recovery process from an ACL tear forced Marve to miss Purdue’s first two games last season, but he appeared in 10 of the final 11 games, completing 61 of 109 passes for 633 yards and four touchdowns. “Mentally he never had confidence in his knee last season,” Nord said. “Now you can tell there is no second guessing or wavering about making a cut or running with the ball.”
Marve’s best performance last season came in the Boilermakers’ 26-23 overtime win against visiting Ohio State, when he completed 10 of 13 passes for 91 yards and rushed for the winning touchdown. “(That game) kind of revived me a little bit with all of the surgeries I had,” Marve said. “Sometimes I questioned if this was the right thing to be doing or if it was meant to be. Then after going through spring (workouts) I saw how much fun I had when I didn’t have to worry about my knee.”
Marve has ditched the knee brace he wore during spring workouts, when he showed signs of returning to full health. Now he’s practicing at full speed on every play. “It’s the first time he’s been able to do that since the first time he injured his knee,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “Never getting that practice time sometimes had a debilitating effect on his performance in some games last season. He now understands the offense and manages the offense well.”
Weiner recalled a recent conversation with Marve in which the former Florida Mr. Football winner said he had a slight strain of his hamstring during a recent practice, but wasn’t worried, rather excited. “He said, ‘Coach, I’m still throwing it better than I’ve ever thrown it,’ ” Weiner said, adding Marve’s slight hamstring strain took a day or two to heal. Now healthy, the physical tools that made Marve the nation’s eighth-best pro-style quarterback prospect in 2008, according to Rivals.com, show through again. “He’s one of the most physically talented quarterbacks in the country,” Nord said. “He’s got to be up there with anybody in terms of arm strength, and he would be right up there with anybody with regards to foot speed and athleticism. He has unbelievable talent to work with.”
By Katherine Smith
Bright House Sports Network
June 17, 2012
TAMPA — Plant High football coach Robert Weiner loves to use 7-on-7 tournaments to instill a desire to win games in his players.
So far this summer, the Panthers have mastered that lesson. Plant won the USF Sling and Shoot I, its second 7-on-7 victory in three appearances. The Panthers defeated Dunbar, 29-12, for the title.
Plant won the UCF 7-on-7 tournament earlier this month, defeating Armwood in the finals. It was nearly another Plant-Armwood final at USF, but the Hawks lost in the semifinals.
Another big benefit of these tournaments for Plant is the amount of reps their quarterbacks get. There is a big battle for the starting spot, so 7-on-7 formats provide plenty of playing time and a chance for the coaching staff to evaluate the players . At the UCF tournament, senior Kyle Groh quarterbacked the Panthers for the one-day event.
With USF’s two-day format, all four quarterbacks – Groh, Aaron Banks, Colby Brown and Kyle Ploucher – got quality work in this weekend, with Banks leading the team in the semifinal and championship games.
Weiner said all four quarterbacks played great. He also singled out Dereck Mann, Mazzi Wilkins, Andrew Beck, Wesley Bullock and Tristan Cooper.
USF will host another Sling and Shoot July 21-22. It’s the largest of the 7-on-7 tournaments with several local teams scheduled to compete. Pasco is the defending champions.
By: Katherine Smith
September 4, 2011
You’d be hard pressed to find any entity in the Bay area that Lee Roy Selmon didn’t impact and high school football is no exception. Lee Roy embraced the high school community and often spoke to teams and generously contributed time and funds.
Last year before the Jefferson Dragons won the school’s first state championship, Lee Roy addressed the team. His namesake restaurant sponsored the team’s pre-game breakfast and he joined the team at its Central Tampa campus before the squad departed for its game in Orlando.
Also last year, the Tampa Tribune’s football season preview theme was preps to pros and featured high school players posing for photos with various current and former Buccaneers. I simply asked Lee Roy at a Buc function if he was interested in taking part and without hesitation he said yes. He proudly posed for photos with several high school players, including James Wilder. It was honor for everyone involved to be in the mere presence of not only one of the best to ever play the game, but also such a truly great person.
Lee Roy Selmon’s restaurant has been a huge supporter of Plant’s football program and many programs in the Bay area. In a glass case in the original Lee Roy Selmon’s on Boy Scout Road, a Plant helmet and signed football from one of the three state championship Plant teams is proudly displayed.
“He was a champion for high school sports, but mostly, he was a champion for humanity,’’ Weiner said. “We teach our kids to be ferocious on the football field, but when they step off to be gentlemen and I don’t know that you have a better example of that than Lee Roy Selmon.
“His humility was 100% sincere.’’
Weiner and his family were inaugural Bucs season ticket holders. They purchased their tickets four years before the franchise came to Tampa in 1976. For 8 straight seasons, Weiner attended every Bucs home game.
“That was my first introduction to football,’’ Weiner said. “I loved watching Lee Roy play. I just remember him being a mauler. His huge arms outstretched chasing after quarterbacks was an amazing sight. It was like a bear engulfing a quarterback. There were a lot of bad plays those first couple of years, but you could always count on at least three maulings by Lee Roy.
“I was there at the beginning when things weren’t always so good, but Lee Roy was always a shining light.’’
Jesuit head coach James Harrell played in the NFL for eight seasons and against Lee Roy when Harrell was with the Detroit Lions.
“It’s a sad day in Tampa. We lost a great man,’’ Harrell said. “A guy who inspired everyone. There was always a smile on his face. He was someone you could go to for advice. He’d give you the shirt off his back. He returned all phone calls. Everybody was important.”
Hillsborough High head coach Earl Garcia: “He was a great person who happened to be a great football player. He was such a class act. He didn’t have a closet to have any skeletons. He didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and he took great care of himself and everyone around him. And now he’s gone at 56. It’s a huge loss.”
Tampa Catholic head coach Bob Henriquez: “What amazes me most about Lee Roy is the number of lives he touched. It seems like everyone knew Lee Roy. We mention him to the team at halftime of our game Friday night and there were players who knew him through their church or by something Lee Roy did to help them straighten out something in their lives. It’s just devastating for the community to lose someone like that.”
Armwood coach Sean Callahan had a special encounter with Lee Roy when he first got into coaching.
“I was a 22-year-old kid who just started coach high school football (at East Bay at that time). I was playing pick-up basketball at Carrollwood Park and this tall guy walks into the gym and starts shooting around with me. I didn’t even know it was Lee Roy Selmon. So later I find out it’s him and I say ‘Sorry, I had no idea.’ And he says ‘It’s OK. I didn’t know who you were.’ And then I start talking to him about how I’ve just started coaching high school football and he tells me about how many lives I’m going to touch and how he and his brothers were so influenced by their high school coach in Oklahoma. He came back to the gym a few nights later and we played some 1-on-1 and he was just go graceful and so athletic and was dunking the ball with ease.
“Years later, we’d see each other in various football circles, shake hands and he’d talk about those nights at Carrollwood rec center and ask me about my football teams and my kids. I think about that and it strikes me how everything was right with Lee Roy. It was never about race or money or your stature in the world. With him, it was who you were as a person.”
By: Bill Ward
September 3, 2011
They didn’t and Weiner, a Jesuit alumnus, ended up down Himes Ave. at Plant where he’s won three state championships. Facing his former team for the first time since he left Jesuit, Weiner’s Plant players put an exclamation point on the seeming slight with a 34-20 victory in front of a standing room only crowd at Dad’s Stadium.
Weiner doesn’t talk about his parting from Jesuit eight years ago, but his players felt the need to show up for him.
“I know how much this game meant for him and I know how much he wanted to get this victory,” said senior cornerback/running back Antonio Crawford. “We just went out there and finished business.”
Crawford handled a lot of business for the Panthers, accounting for 135 of Plant’s 255 rushing yards, and two touchdowns. Junior running back Wesley Bullock also scored two touchdowns and finished with 89 rushing yards.
Crawford’s first touchdown in the third quarter gave the Panthers a 19-6 lead. Jesuit pulled within six points at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Tommy Eveld engineered a 10-play, 75-yard drive which he capped off with a 30-yard touchdown strike to Aaron Paulsen, who started at quarterback for Jesuit.
Plant did its own rotating at quarterback with senior James Few getting the majority of the snaps and setting the tone early for the Panthers by completing six-consecutive pass attempts. He finished 8-of-10 for 184 yards.
The Tigers had a chance to go ahead with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Eveld was once again driving the Tigers and got them to the Panthers 20 yard line. But a sack and false start penalty backed Jesuit up and facing fourth-and-25, Eveld threw a pass that was intercepted by Plant senior safety David Lerom.
Plant converted that turnover into a touchdown, but found themselves up by only seven with 2:45 remaining in the game when Eveld, who finished with 160 passing yards and 40 rushing yards, ran seven yards for a touchdown.
On the Panthers next possession, Crawford made sure the Tigers didn’t get any closer with a third-down, 52-yard touchdown run that put the game away for good.
“I’ve never, never, never, even eight years ago, said one bad thing about Jesuit,” Weiner said. “I have nothing but respect for Jesuit. Anything that’s positive about my coaching today is positive because of the influence I was given during my days there at Jesuit.”
- P-Bostic (kick blocked)
- P-Bullock 1 run (pass failed)
- J-Clonts 4 run (kick failed)
- P-Crawford 8 run (Van Aman kick)
- J-Paulsen 30 pass from Eveld (Greene kick)
- P-Bullock 48 run (Few pass from Banks)
- J-Eveld 8 run (Greene kick)
- P-Crawford 52 run (Van Aman kick)
By Katherine Smith
The Tampa Tribune
August 31, 2011
TAMPA It’s been nearly 20 years since Jesuit and Plant have faced off on the football field and while a lot has changed for both programs, some similarities remain.
When the two teams last met in 1994, Plant head coach Robert Weiner was an assistant coach at Jesuit, as were several of Weiner’s Plant assistant coaches, including co-defensive coordinator John Few.
Plant wide receivers coach T.J. Lane and special teams coach Matty Walker were standout players for the Tigers in that game. Jesuit offensive line coach Brian McNulty was a Division I prospect playing alongside Lane and Walker.
In what was former Plant head coach Roland Acosta’s final game, Jesuit defeated the Panthers 23-14 on Nov. 4, 1994. The two face off for first time since then on Friday night at Dad’s Stadium.
In 1994, Jesuit, then led by current Berkeley Prep coach Dominick Ciao, was one of the most successful teams in Hillsborough County. Plant, not so much.
Now Plant is one of the top programs in the state, with three state championships in the past five years. Jesuit is enjoying a resurgence under head coach James Harrell, now in his second season at the Tigers’ helm.
Harrell was Plant’s co-defensive coordinator during the Panthers’ 2006 and ’08 state runs. Jesuit assistant coaches McNulty, offensive coordinator Ty Alvarez and Scott DeCamp were Panthers assistants during those state title seasons also, as well as the one in ’09.
Confused yet? Here are more connections. Weiner, Few, Lane, Walker, tight ends coach Jeff Murphy and defensive assistant Kirk Willet all graduated from Jesuit. Panthers defensive backs coach Bo Puckett got his first break in coaching at Jesuit before joining Weiner at Plant.
And Plant defensive line coach Billy Minahan, who played for the Panthers, shares a special connection to Jesuit. His father, Wild Bill Minahan, was the Tigers’ head coach for several years, including 1968 when Jesuit won its only state championship.
Photos from Jesuit and Plant’s pregame practice sessions as the two squads prepare to square off Friday night at Dad’s Stadium in South Tampa. For high-resolution copies of any photo from the gallery, please contact Ron Kolwak of the Tampa Tribune at (813) 259-8223 or e-mail email@example.com. All photos by BILL WARD/The Tampa Tribune. http://www2.tbo.com/photoalbum/2011/sep/01/game-of-the-week-for-sept-2-2011-jesuit-vs-plant/
August 24, 2011
To preview the 2011 prep football season, The Tampa Tribune is counting down the top 10 teams in Hillsborough County. These preseason rankings were voted on by the Tribune’s four staffers who cover high school football — Eddie Daniels, Katherine Smith, Bill Ward and Nick Williams. Today: No. 2 Plant
Plant High football coach Robert Weiner said this year’s Panthers team has the feel of the 2006 squad — the one that began the run of four state championship game appearances in five seasons.
That year, Plant won its first of three state titles.
This season, playmakers James Wilder and Phillip Ely are gone, but the cupboard isn’t bare. The Panthers’ Division I talent is spread through every facet of the game with defensive back Antonio Crawford (Georgia Tech), strong safety Drew Madhu (Stanford), wide receiver Austin Aikens and offensive lineman Nathan Shienle.
A quarterback battle throughout the off-season resulted in junior Aaron Banks and senior James Few emerging as the front-runners to take Ely’s spot and the defense looks strong from top to bottom.
Miami Columbus comes to Dad’s Stadium on Friday night in a preseason battle between two of the top teams in the new Class 8A, but last year’s 29-7 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in the Class 5A championship game isn’t far from the Panthers’ minds.
“I wish we didn’t have that experience, but for all the guys that were on that team, it was definitely a humbling experience,” Madhu said. “We don’t want to feel that way again. It reminds us that each day we’ve got to push our team and give it our all and not take off any plays.”
KICKOFF CLASSIC: Friday vs. Miami Columbus
SEASON OPENER: Sept. 2 vs. Jesuit
Top 10 teams:
- Plant City
- Robinson (tie)
- Tampa Bay Tech (tie)
- Berkeley Prep
By Drew Fellios
Bright House Sports Network
July 26, 2010
That best sums up Phillip Ely’s tenure as
Plant’s starting quarterback. Heading into his senior season, perfection
as a starter is something not even the great Robert Marve or Aaron Murray can claim before him.
Remind him of that, and the Plant senior QB stays humble. He
knows his success can be attributed to Plant’s dominance as an
overall program just as much as it can to his ability.
But you can’t deny these facts.
No Plant QB has been more clutch in big games as early in his career as Ely.
Factor his pick-me-up win over Hillborough in 2008 followed
by his thrilling TD passes to Orson Charles to beat Armwood in the 4A
regional final. That set the table for Murray’s return and Plant’s title
In 2009, the final three games defined him.
A win at Countryside in the mud in a game that clearly could
have gotten away. Ely kept the Panthers on track. The following week, he
led the Panthers into Bryant Stadium and toppled Polk County dynasty
Lakeland. He finished at the Citrus Bowl, leading Plant to their
third state championship in four years. Put it all together and Phillip
Ely has had a near-perfect Plant career.
But he’s not done yet.