Grebner takes over Metamora defense

Tom Batters
Jared Grebner

This summer, Metamora senior captain Brett McKinney switched from cornerback to safety.

No big deal, right?

Just line up in a different spot and learn a couple new defensive formations.

Actually, McKinney said, it’s a lot more complicated than that, which is why he is thankful to have defensive coordinator Jared Grebner at his side.

“Coach Grebner has helped me a lot,” McKinney said. “He’s been there. He knows how to read every offense, and where the safety has to be on every play.”

Grebner, who played quarterback and safety for the Redbirds in the late nineties, takes over as defensive coordinator this year after Deric Linder left to become coordinator at Eureka College.

He said a core group of experienced, smart players like McKinney and senior linebackers Tom Bieneman and Bryan Love have made the job easier, but there is still a lot of work to do before the season starts in 16 days.

“These guys have been battle tested in some big games, so they already know what Metamora football is all about,” Grebner said. “But, offenses are evolving a lot more these days. We’ll have to be ready for a lot of different looks. We’ll see where we are on Aug. 27.”

Metamora coach Pat Ryan said he liked what he saw from the defense this summer.

“At the 7-on-7 tournament, at first it looked like our offense was struggling, but that was just because our defense was playing so well,” he said. “Jared has done a great job, and I have all the confidence in the world in him.”

Ryan said he wanted a more experienced player at safety, and McKinney was the perfect choice.

“The stakes are higher back there (at safety). You have to be the quarterback of the defense,” he said. “You also have to have a quiet cockiness. Brett has all that. He breaks to the ball quickly, and makes the adjustments he has to make. He is also one of our team leaders.”

Grebner, who joined the coaching staff in 2002, said he will have free reign to control the defense, but he also welcomes Ryan’s input.

“I have known coach Ryan for half of my life. I respect him and trust him so much,” Grebner said. “He lets the assistant coaches do their jobs, but, if he sees something that needs to be done, then he tells us. We all communicate really well, because we all have the same goals.”

Grebner smiled when asked the one question that a lot fans are wondering about already.

Are you ready for Washington?

“We know they are talented, and that will be a big game,” he said. “But, we don’t look ahead. We focus on our next game. We work as hard as we can to prepare for that game. When it’s over, then we look at the next one.”

The Redbirds play Washington at home Oct. 15 (Week 8). The Panthers handed Metamora its only lost last year (28-7, at Washington in Week 2).