Trailblazers sometimes fall off hidden cliffs, and those that come behind them reap the benefits.
So maybe the fact that Trophy Club Nelson’s Nick Santini watched and learned on the sideline during his junior season will prove beneficial when he takes the field this season as the Bobcats’ starting quarterback.
Last year was head coach Travis Pride’s first at Nelson, and last year’s starter, Eli Rusche, had to learn new schemes and offensive philosophy on the fly.
And there was Santini, soaking it in and getting direct feedback from Pride and offensive coordinator Chris Olsen.
“I was a second set of eyes for Eli,” Santini said. “I could learn more that way, although it’s not the same as playing. I learned so much from watching and being able to talk to Coach.”
Now the senior Santini will use that knowledge base, virtual reps and a committed offseason training regimen to try and take his team back to the playoffs.
“It was definitely an advantage coming in the second year,” Santini said.
“Coach Olsen said it helped us out and he’s happy to have a second-year quarterback. He said I’ll be seen as a first-year quarterback, but I’m not thinking like it. I have more knowledge of everything,” Santini explained.
No doubt, the added year of study and practice was a help in terms of readying the Bobcats for this year, but Santini has other qualities which will be key ingredients.
He’s accurate at the short-to-medium range passes and just hasn’t had the opportunity to prove himself downfield.
As a more vocal leader, Santini is ready to take control on the field, too.
“It’s a great benefit,” said Pride. “He has had a year to learn the system. He has had a year to understand our team and offensive philosophy. He had time to learn the intricacies of leadership.”
Santini knows being able to lead the team and be a vocal leader has a responsibility to be able to execute themselves.
“It’s a big difference when becoming more vocal. You have to do as you say and not be hypocritical about it,” Santini said.
As it’s his senior year, he also knows not to get in a hurry — whether in the pocket or on his perspective on the season.
“As a senior, I want to cherish every moment. I’m finally getting my time to start and I want to cherish it,” he said. “This is something I’ve wanted for the longest time and to have it now and to be with the guys since we were of such a young age and to be their QB, it’s a great feeling.”
Jersey number to honor family member
Santini will wear number 13 this season in honor of his aunt, who passed away seven years ago. “It was her favorite number and her birth date,” he said of the otherwise unlucky 13.