He doesn’t have to be reminded, he already knows.
Burroughs High football Coach Keith Knoop knows that his best player from 2011 has graduated, leaving him with a gaping hole in his offense.
Zander Anding — the unanimous selection for All-Area Player of the Year, as voted on by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, La Cañada Valley Sun and Pasadena Sun — will no longer carry the load for the Indians. He left his career at Burroughs as the all-time school leader in rushing yards (3,345) and points scored (250).
Will it be possible to replace Anding?
“Impossible,” said Knoop, whose team went 6-5 and shared the Pacific League championship for a third consecutive season in 2011.
“He was a special guy who had a lot of success.”
During spring practice, Knoop realized that he’ll have to replace Anding’s production with multiple running backs and a balanced offense.
“Our philosophy is to be balanced,” Knoop said. “Last year, we couldn’t throw the ball to save our lives, but we could sure run it. Last year, even if we tried, we couldn’t throw the ball.”
Spring practice allowed Andrew Williams and Angel Manzanero to battle for the starting quarterback spot.
“It’s still early,” Knoop said. “We try to evaluate new players. We try to install our main concepts. We don’t expect our kids to be great at them yet. We try to repeat the concepts over and over again to them.”
Williams and Manzanero — who’ll be juniors in 2012 — got their first opportunity to showcase their skills when Burroughs took part in the L.A. Pierce College Passing Tournament last week.
“We just want them to execute what we taught them,” Knoop said. “We’re looking to see who can execute and who is athletic enough to execute.”
Williams or Manzanero will have a variety of players to hand the ball off to when the season begins. Knoop expects Israel Montes, Garrett Manoukian and Josh Storer to play in the backfield, with Montes also seeing duty as a starting cornerback.
“It’s hard to say who will be the starting running back,” said Knoop, whose teams have had a long tradition of churning out quality ball-carriers. “One of them may be the guy.”
One of them will be the guy who will try to lead the Indians to another league championship.
“They know that they are the defending league champions in the back of their minds,” Knoop said. “But it’s so much information coming at them that they kind of forget about that for a while. You kind of know, though, that you have a target on your chest. You’re the one everyone is trying to knock off.”