Trinity Episcopal School’s head football coach Zach Rogel tries to get his players fired up during practice Tuesday. Rogel is in his first season as head coach at Trinity. (SAM GAUSE | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT)
Trinity Episcopal School’s head football coach Zach Rogel tries to get his players fired up during practice Tuesday. Rogel is in his first season as head coach at Trinity. (SAM GAUSE | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT)

Trinity’s Rogel gains experience as first-year head coach

Published 11:51pm Saturday, August 30, 2014

NATCHEZ — For a first-year head coach, Zach Rogel’s current setting couldn’t be more familiar.

Rogel, who graduated from Trinity in 2005, is now at the helm of his alma mater, something Rogel doesn’t take lightly.

“It’s a dream come true because I’ve seen what Trinity can do for people,” Rogel said. “Besides my parents, my high school coaches had a huge impact in shaping the man I’ve become. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

When Rogel isn’t performing an activity related to football, he’s either biking or taking the trip to Jackson so see his parents, Carl and Lisa Rogel, and his siblings.

Most of the time, though, Rogel, who called himself a homebody, spends his time at home, planning and studying tape to make his football team better.

Saturday

Rogel follows his 24-hour rule by the second.

Eager to dive into preparation for Centreville one day after a 62-36 loss to University Academy, Rogel has dinner with defensive coordinator Chris Bunio at 8 p.m.

Of course, dinner discussion included the tweaks they needed to make in personnel and in schemes moving forward. The meal symbolized a time of relaxation before another heavy week of preparation, and following dinner, Rogel and Bunio went right into watching film of Centreville. The coaches watched until 11 p.m. before calling it a night and revisiting that same tape the following day.

Sunday

“It’s a general rule that coaches arrive to watch film with noon being the latest on Sundays,” said Rogel, acknowledging churchgoers on the staff.

The players arrive at 2 p.m., and that’s when Rogel takes the floor to address the offense before Bunio handles the defense portion of the film study. The team watched Centreville’s 49-14 victory against Brookhaven Academy in the season opener, and this being the third time Rogel ran through the tape, he knows exactly what openings to show his players.

“All slants and look at the flat,” Rogel said. “The way their defense is setting up, they’re covering in man, so that’s open all day.”

Evoking confidence is part of the process, as well.

“If this receiver can get open so can Cade Wells,” Rogel said.

While the team continued to watch film, Rogel challenged them to be more physical in Friday’s contest

“We have to be able to run the ball between the tackles this week,” Rogel said. “They’re not expecting it. Heck, I wouldn’t be expecting it if I saw our tape from the other night.”

Monday

Like all coaches, Rogel spends the majority of his weekdays monitoring kids as the physical education teacher at Trinity, and once school lets out at 3 p.m., Rogel goes to study hall with the students until 3:50 p.m.

Accustomed to Rogel’s weekly regimen, Trinity football players know the studying doesn’t stop once they get out of study hall.

Back in the classroom, Rogel and the coaches go over film again with the team before hitting the field at 4:30 p.m.

Lightning and a severe thunderstorm pushed the team back inside Monday, though. The players’ cardio was tested with circuit workout drills, exhausting the players while waiting for the storm to pass. Once it did, the fun began.

The coaches and the players ran onto the practice field with music bumping in the background and had one of their best practices of the season.

With high energy, Trinity players got after each other in full pads, and following the practice, they, along with Rogel, went “swan diving.”

One-by-one they took turns diving into the mud after a hard day of work.

“I’m going to have music playing at every practice from now on,” a pleased Rogel said.