Since the age of 5, Caravel’s Jake Reed has shared a football sideline with his father.
On Saturday, they will do so for the final time.
Jake’s father, John, is the head coach for the upstate-based Blue Team in the 2017 DFRC Blue-Gold Kickoff Classic. That gives Dad one last chance to coach Son, although it isn’t always directly one-on-one.
John Reed’s coaching emphasis is on areas beyond the offensive and defensive lines where Jake plays, so John said it’s easy enough to avoid the trap of focusing on his own child.
“For me, I need to coach the team, not Jake. I let the other coaches coach him, and certainly we talk about opportunities and owning everything you do, in the effort you put in. He certainly understands that, so he’s built for it.”
Jake said he will miss being around his father so much when he joins the University of Delaware’s squad as a recruited walk-on at practice this summer, but he noted he’s been lucky to have a strong influence in his upbringing.
“A lot of fathers aren’t in their kid’s lives… it’s really on game days that we bond the most.”
One lesson that Coach John has been able to share are the experiences of the Blue-Gold Football Game.
Delaware’s All-Star Football Game is more than a one-week experience. The DFRC pairs up their players, band members, cheerleaders, and ambassadors with buddies from their respective schools, encouraging them to attend events, and just be friends.
John played in the 1990 game, and has had Jake working the game as a game-day volunteer throughout high school, leading into his appearance as an All-Star senior.
Jake said he’s learned a lot from the program.
“I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. Not everyone can be like yourself, and everyone is unique, so you have to adapt. I’ve had a great experience, I really like it.”
One adaptation Jake had to make, was when Delaware fired coach Dave Brock during last season, and then hired former-Richmond coach Danny Rocco to take over for interim coach Dennis Dottin-Carter.
There was some recruiting in both directions, as Jake tried to sort out if he still fit into the new staff’s plans, even as a non-scholarship recruit.
“I was worried, and when I came on my visit, because they were three weeks new. They were on the tour as we were. It was hard because I didn’t know how to communicate with anybody, because everyone was new, no one knew who I was, it was awkward.”
Jake said he was won over by Rocco retaining Special Teams/Running Backs coach Eddie Allen, a key cog, considering Jake’s long-snapping prowess at Caravel.
“I like him, and I like the staff a lot. I like what he’s doing. he practices are pretty uptempo, and everyone has a role and they’re getting it done so far.”
One person watching closely will be Coach John Reed, who said he’s ready to step aside and focus completely on the role of Dad, but cherishes the 13 years of football together.
“To have the success him and I have had together. I’ve watched him grow from a little a kid, to a young man who will play here at the University of Delaware, it’s really special.”
You can see Jake and John share the Delaware Stadium sideline on Saturday night at 6 p.m. inside Delaware Stadium. Pre-game festivities begin at 5 p.m.