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These football moves could be big hits

One of the most intriguing story lines this summer involves the decision to move two dynamic, dominant defensive ends to middle linebacker.

Cody Kurz from Ventura St. Bonaventure and Corey Waller from Long Beach Poly were effective sacking quarterbacks last season, and the coaching staffs for both schools were prompted to make the switch by the same idea — trying to take advantage of versatility.

“He’s going to come from everywhere,” St. Bonaventure Coach Todd Therrien said of Kurz. “We’re going to blitz from all different places.”

Ditto for Poly’s Waller, which means the Sept. 9 game between Poly and St. Bonaventure at Long Beach Veterans Stadium should come down to which team figures out how to block the other team’s middle linebacker.

In the case of the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Kurz, he had 18 sacks as a junior while playing at 250 pounds. He has dropped weight and used the summer to immerse himself in learning all facets of the defensive schemes needed to play linebacker.

“The transition has been pretty easy,” Kurz said. “My freshman year I played linebacker.”

He has picked up scholarship offers from Louisiana State, Washington and Colorado. He also plays tight end and has shown promise as a pitcher in baseball, having been clocked throwing more than 90 mph this summer.

“He’s a stud,” Therrien said.

Therrien hasn’t given Kurz any time to relax because he expects him to be the defensive leader at his new position.

“Yeah, he’s been yelling at me a lot,” Kurz said, “but I know what he’s getting at. I’m not frustrated.”

Therrien said he wants Kurz to be a run stopper and also be in position to provide big plays rushing the quarterback.

That’s why the Poly-St. Bonaventure game in two months will be all about the middle linebackers.

Big day Saturday

There won’t be a better day to watch seven-on-seven passing competitions than Saturday.

The Huntington Beach Edison tournament features the best field of the summer, with Santa Ana Mater Dei, Westlake Village Westlake, Los Alamitos, Corona Centennial, La Habra and Westlake Village Oaks Christian among the 16 teams competing.

Mission Viejo is playing host to a tournament that includes Long Beach Poly. Los Angeles Valley College has a tournament, as does Santa Fe Springs Santa Fe.

And on Thursday and Friday, Gardena Serra will be in Beaverton, Ore., for a seven-on-seven national tournament.

Fauria returns

Lance Fauria, who was once a standout football and basketball player at Encino Crespi and coach at Santa Maria St. Joseph and Van Nuys Montclair Prep, has returned to coaching as the head coach at North Hills L.A. Baptist.

Big-time prospect

Junior pitcher Lucas Giolito from North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake was clocked throwing his fastball between 90 and 93 mph at the Stanford camp last week, according to his high school coach, Matt LaCour.

Giolito has received multiple scholarship offers from Pacific 10 Conference and Big West Conference schools. He was at the Area Code tryouts Tuesday at Westmont College.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com


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