Boulder’s Shane Provost entered the Panthers dressing room at Recht Field as a freshman ready to cement himself in a role on offense or defense that would carry him until his senior season.
It’s the same for most incoming players, and for coaches the development certainly can be amplified the less roles the player has.
Provost was one of those kids, though, that would end up proving too worthy of multiple positions to just stick to one plan. Now as a senior, he’s prepared this offseason to handle, well, just about anything.
You probably aren’t going to see him line up for field goals. But what you will see is him having to switch jerseys in the middle of a game, perhaps even in the middle of an offensive series, to be able to do whatever it takes for BHS to rack up a few more wins.
“I came in as a running back and right away coach Smith said, you know, we’re going to need you up front, we’re running straight ‘I’-(formation), and so I became the fullback,” Provost said after a recent practice. “Sophomore and freshman year, I was a fullback but I thought I was going to play defense, too. For some reason I didn’t get to do that a lot.
“Now, I am glad to be able to play defense because I just want to get my nose in on every play.”
Provost has seen three different head coaches walk through that very same dressing room in his four years. The first, Bob Simmons, made a late exit before the 2016 season; the second, Vincent Smith, lasted two years before deciding Year 3 was not in the cards literally days before the first day of practice.
Ryan Bishop, present as an assistant coach all those years and then some, has provided the stability and instilled the pride the Panthers need. And Bishop has also placed trust in what Provost to carry the responsibilities of knowing the playbook forward and backward.
“He’s going to play every position on the field that we can possibly put him … but he’s really just bought into that completely,” Bishop, no longer an interim head coach, said. “He’s done a lot of 7-on-7 stuff, a lot of weight stuff — he’s in our 1,000-pound club — and we’re proud of where he’s at.”
Provost will still carry the ball from out of the backfield, as he first was tasked to do as a freshman.
However, you may see him along the offensive or defensive lines, perhaps as a tight end … depending on the play call he may be roaming as a linebacker. Will he punt? Well, the Panthers are in need after losing one of the Metro 10 League’s best in Matt McCarthy.
Provost knows he had better keep tabs on his equipment bag along the sideline and keep his mind open to anything.
“What I was looking forward to was running back, defense, getting that down, but then on the line I’m going back and trying to know all the plays,” Provost said. “Big Jaden Bailey, he’s our center and he’s been helping me with my footwork, my zones, all that kind of stuff that I might need. I feel that my teammates will have my back.”
Fab five: Running backs
Top five local returning RBs. (2018 yards/yards per game):
1. Dakota Key, Legacy (1,799 / 149.9)
2. Jake Wachter, Mead (688 / 98.3)
3. Nathan Bailey, Mead (959 / 87.2)
4. Brandon Hornby, Frederick (822 / 74.7)
5. Trevin Johnson, Holy Family (793 / 72.1)