English Has Cowboy Linebackers Thinking Fundamentally

April 19, 2003


(This is the fourth in a series of articles acquainting you with Joe Glenn's 2003 Wyoming football staff. Today meet Cowboy linebacker coach Marty English.)

Marty English has his priorities in order.

Wyoming's new linebacker coach spent 17 seasons at the University of Northern Colorado, 13 of them with Joe Glenn. He was one of Glenn's assistants, however, who did not go with Joe, when the staff moved from UNC to the University of Montana. By his own admission, it was the most difficult decision he ever made.

"My dad (Ron) was very sick at the time, and needed a heart transplant," said English, a three-year starting linebacker at UNC during the mid-1980's who looks like he could still play. "Whether to stay, or go was the hardest decision my wife, Suzie, and I have ever made. I think we told Joe 'yes we would go' twice, and 'no we would stay', three times. Ultimately, there was just no way I could leave my dad at that time. There were lots of tears, at the time, I can tell you, but it all worked out."

It has worked out for everyone indeed. Not only is dad doing fine, and living in Denver, but English has been reunited with Glenn at UW. "My dad is now 63 years old, and really doing well," English said. "He and my mom will be up here for every game. My family loves it up here. It is a great place to raise our two children (Kelsey and Tyler). I've always had the support of all of my family, so that decision was the right thing to do."

English's wife, Suzie, knows how to compete, by the way. She was an outstanding gymnast during her collegiate days at Northern Colorado. Her specialities were in the floor exercise and the beam. The two actually met in the training room while they were each rehabilitating from an injury.

Another factor in English's decision to remain at UNC, was the fact he was named the Bears' defensive coordinator by Glenn's replacement. "That's something I always wanted to do. Those two factors made it difficult to go with Joe at the time.

"But Suzie and I decided that if we ever had another opportunity to be with Joe, we would jump at it. Honestly, Joe took such great care of us that we felt like we were cheating ourselves by not going. But staying at UNC was the right decision for me at the time."

English, a native of Lakewood, Colo., certainly had success as the Bear d-coordinator. During his three seasons as coordinator, his defense was ranked second in the league twice, and first in the league his final year in total defense. In fact, his Bears were ninth in the nation defensively that final season. "It was a great experience for me," English said. "I learned a great deal. But I was thrilled to get back with Joe. It also was an opportunity to coach at the D-1 level."

English's dad was a highly successful baseball and football coach at the high school level in Denver for 29 seasons. He was an outstanding baseball player at Northern Colorado. In fact, while there, he played in four College World Series. Marty's brother, Mitch, also was an outstanding baseball player for the Bears.

Maybe that's where English gets his "old-school" coaching philosophy. "There's no doubt about it, I'm an old school coach," he said. "I teach them how to attack a blocker, rip thourgh, get the head around and tackle. I'm a fundamental coach."

It's taken some time, but English's linebackers seem to be tuned in, and adjusting their new coach. "I felt like these guys need to work harder. They needed to become more physical. We just needed to become a little more nasty. They are beginning to pick up on that. We have some ground to cover, but we're getting there.

"I want us to be fundamentally sound, and I want us to be physical with a nasty attitude. Most of all, I want us to finish plays. We need to get off blocks and make tackles. Finish it with an attitude. That's pretty fundamental football, but that's where we are going to be."

When English talks about his linebacking corps, he starts with the best player on the defense, junior Tyler (T.J.) Gottschalk. Wyoming's leading tackler a year ago, the junior from Hays, Kans., is a special player, according to his coach. "Not only is T.J. a good player to coach, but he's a good kid who is a heck of a leader. He understands the urgency of drills in practice. He moves well, and, what I love about him, he plays the whole play. He plays hard."

Gottschalk will play the "sam" or strong side backer spot. That is a departure for him since he spent his sophomore season at middle backer. "Sam really fits him," English said of Gottschalk's move. We walk him on the tight end, and when we are in man, he covers the tight end. He does a great job on the edge, especially when we ask him to blitz. He is an all-around linebacker." Behind Gottschalk at "sam" is J.C. Trautwein, a senior who is a tough, physcial player, according to his coach. English feels there's a young redshirt freshman from Sheridan, who could get in the mix, Austin Hall is in a "non-contact" mode this spring because of a shoulder injury. But he should be ready to compete by the opening of fall camp.

Moving a couple of safties to the weak side has given the linebacking corps a big boost at the weakside or "will" position, according to English. At the beginning of spring, both junior Guy Tuell and senior Tom Vincent were moved from safety spots to linebacker. They are both working out very well. "Those two will be a good one-two punch for us," English said. "We want them to be around that 215-pound mark, and that should help them there. They both can run, they are instinctive, and they are Wyoming tough. Sophomore Jeff Tatnall also will be competiting at that spot."

There is a veteran and a couple of relative newcomers vying for the middle (mike) backer spot. The leader at this stage of spring training is transfer Randy Tscharner, a 6-3, 231-pound junior. According to English, he is physical enough to play the position. Right now he is working on the mental part of the game. Veteran Shane Powell, a junior who saw plenty of duty last season, and sophomore Matt Chase are competiting with Tscharner for that starting spot.