After slow start, Blueberg is coming on strong
Colby Blueberg knows this is the final year of his football career, and soon he will be focusing all of his athletic attention on baseball.
That and other personal issues may have contributed to the talented senior defensive back not quite being mentally prepared when Carson High started football practice this summer. His intensity and focus were not there, and it’s something that the Carson coaches noticed.
Coach Blair Roman’s solution was simple – cut into the playing time. That will get any competitive athlete fired up, and Blueberg is one of the most competitive guys around.
“The No. 1 thing is competition,” Roman said. “He does have a lot of competition. Against Del Campo, Clint Page started, and that was based on summer and camp workouts. Colby won the right to start against North Valleys, and he’s working to get to start against Hug. We’re expecting big things from Colby.
“Colby started the last six or seven games for us at cornerback and had a good junior season. Sometimes you can get complacent. Colby may have felt like he should have been handed his (old) position.”
Blueberg admitted he wasn’t “all there,” but he also said those days are in the past.
“I was thinking about off-field stuff when I was at (football) practice,” Blueberg admitted. “Baseball is my road, but I want to go out and have a great year in my last year of football.
“Your teammates want you to play well. I want to play lights out and have fun.”
Roman said that he noticed a change in Blueberg after the scrimmage against Truckee and Lassen.
“Ever since then he’s worked as hard as anybody,” Roman said. “He’s always had a good attitude. We have a good relationship. There is a lot of give and take between us.”
Roman said it’s imperative that Blueberg maintain his starting job. Brandon Akers is coming along well, and Roman hinted that would like to move Gabe Pongasi to safety to spell Dylan Sawyers which means Akers, Page and Blueberg would battle for the two cornerback spots.
Blueberg had a solid game against North Valleys. He had an interception called back late in the first half that was nullified because of a roughing the passer penalty, which led to a North Valleys score, and he also intercepted a pass on a two-point conversion attempt.
Blueberg nearly had a second interception, but when he tipped the ball it went into Nick Palko’s hands for a touchdown. Palko had another catch with Blueberg in the area, but Roman blamed that catch on a blown assignment, and that Blueberg did a good job just to get back and help defend on the play.
Blueberg said he liked being matched up against Palko, North Valleys’ top receiver. Josh Peacock was Carson’s shutdown guy last year, and Blueberg would like to assume that role this year.
Blueberg admits that he’s had some ups and downs, but that’s to be expected, according to Roman.
“Playing defensive back is a hard job,” Roman said. “Everybody sees when you make a mistake. When Colby makes a mistake, he’s able to bounce back and put it aside. That’s part of his baseball background.”
“It’s just like walking two straight batters,” Blueberg said. “You have to develop that iceman mentality. You have to forget about the past; not dwell on it.”