When Franklin Regional opens football camp Monday, a veteran presence will behind center.
Senior Adam Rudzinski returns at quarterback to lead the Panthers.
He completed 75 of 163 passes for 1,090 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He also rushed for 224 yards.
But the senior wouldn’t mind putting up bigger numbers in 2018. So he sought out a quarterback camp to improve his game.
Rudzinski spent the summer going to Canon-McMillan and learning from Cal (Pa.) quarterbacks coach Chad Salisbury and honing his game. The Frazier graduate played at New Mexico State and Buffalo.
Salisbury passed for 2,291 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore at New Mexico State and finished his career in Buffalo’s top five in completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns. He completed 372 of 671 passes for 4,947 yards and 31 scores.
He then played in the Arena League and spent one season as a quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Avengers in the AFL.
“We worked on footwork, timing and all the fundamentals of football,” Rudzinski said. “I’ve learned a lot, and it should help me this season.”
Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta already sees a difference in Rudzinski.
“Adam’s confidence level is up, his arm strength is better and leadership qualities are better,” Botta said. “I have a lot of respect for Chad. He can point out the mistakes you’re making.
“He does a good job explaining what you’re doing right and what you’re during wrong. I see a big plus. I expect big things from Adam.”
Having a veteran quarterback never hurts an offense, especially throwing to a good group of receivers.
While Botta will be trying to find reliable tight ends, Rudzinski has plenty of speedsters to throw to.
“The tight ends are a big part of our offense,” Botta said. “We’ve always had good tight ends. We have some work to do and find a couple.”
But Rudzinski isn’t worried. He likes his receivers a lot.
“We have a good group,” Rudzinski said. “We have some talented sophomores and a couple guys coming back from injuries.”
Nick Leopold, Michael Evans and Devin Powell missed time with injuries. Leopold got hurt against Kiski Area in the second game and was out the rest of the season with a wrist injury.
Rudzinski said he’s excited to work with the receivers, especially sophomore Brandon Zanotto and Jeffrey Downs.
“They catch everything,” Rudzinski said. “They have great hands and run good routes. Nick looks good. He’s one of the best receivers I’ve worked with.
“Nick and Mike find ways to get open. Mike is one of the fastest guys. It should be fun.”
Botta said he instructed his offensive coordinator to get the ball into his playmakers’ hands and wants Rudzinski to be a leader.
“I have all the confidence in Adam,” Botta said. “He’s seeing the field better, and he’s a lot stronger. He’s throwing the ball better.”
If Rudzinski can put what he learned into practice with his receivers, Franklin Regional’s offense could be a handful.