Longview's Peters juggles coaching, quarterbacking for Lobos
By Jimmy Carter firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct. 15, 2012 at 11 p.m.
Mark Peters has no problem talking a little trash to his players.
It's an approach rarely taken by most coaches. Then again, most coaches don't double as a quarterback during practice.
Peters' job title reads Longview defensive line coach, but the seventh-year Lobos assistant adds operating the show team offense to his duties during practices when the defense prepares for a passing offense. It then becomes his job to score on his players.
When he does, he lets them hear about it.
"I'll score and raise hell with the offense with the best of them," Peters said. "I'll chest bump. I'll do whatever I can do to put out the best show team for our defense. We wristband it up. The whole nine yards.
"I'm trying to score every time."
That's not an easy task, though. The 30 year old does throw touchdown passes occasionally, but going against the starting defense often leads to interceptions or incompletions more than touchdowns.
"If he breaks out a big play he'll mess with us," senior linebacker Torean Sheppard said. "It doesn't happen a lot. He gets to celebrate very few times so he tries to make the most of them."
Unless the Lobos are facing a power running team, the coaching staff would rather use a coach to replicate the look the defense will face. Then-Longview underclassman Rayshone McGee ran the show team at times in 2007 and 2008, but is the exception.
"Show team is something you don't think is a big deal until you're not getting a good picture," Peters said. "You can control where the ball's coming out, who's getting the ball and what your defense is looking at. You've got to have somebody to change blocking schemes when we're running one of our 40 defenses we play.
"You couldn't do that with a kid in there.
Peters has taken quarterback reps the last two years after inheriting the job from defensive coordinator Casey Pearce, who ran the show team offense for the previous five years while he was a co-coordinator. Pearce gave the job to Peters after becoming the sole defensive coordinator.
"Casey's an Olympic qualifier in the javelin," Peters said. "So he has a better arm than me. He's probably smarter with the ball."
Aside from arm strength, the two have differing styles when reading the defense.
"I'd force balls," Pearce said. "I'd throw it to the unopen guy more than I'd throw it to the open guy. Make people actually make a play. Make specific players make plays."
While Pearce and Peters might be better options than using a young quarterback to run the show team, neither played the position in high school or college. Pearce played safety and Peters was a fullback.
Peters is finding that the hits he took during his playing career come in handy now. It didn't take long for him to learn that being a coach doesn't keep him from occasionally getting roughed up by his own players.
"You get hurt," Peters said. "You get nicked up. You get hit. Not on purpose, but you do get somebody run into you. It's not an easy deal. Everybody thinks all you've got to do is hand it off or throw it to somebody. That's easier said than done.
"It's easy to throw it on air, but when there's defensive players and guys buzzing around you, it's a tough gig."
It's a gig that Peters loves, though. Especially when he throws a touchdown pass and gets to talk a little trash.
"It's all in fun," Peters said. "It's easier for me to mess with them than some kid doing it and starting a riot. I've got a relationship with my players that I think is a good one."
(Follow Jimmy Carter on Twitter: @jicartersports)