Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit offensive line coach John Andreas is a favorite amongst his players, who say Andreas gets the most out of them on the field and helps them reach their full potential.

There’s a look, right before the Jesuit offensive line runs out of the locker room onto the field for battle, John Andreas shares with his proteges that testifies to why Andreas first got into coaching.

It’s one of trust, that the offensive line coach has fully prepared his pupils for what lies ahead of them. Nothing that comes into their path will be unfamiliar. The play calls coming from head coach Ken Potter will have been strenuously rehearsed in methodical fashion during practice. The hard work put in during the week by both coach and players is about to get the results desired and to some extent, expected from a unit that’s the Crusaders’ lifeblood and epicenter of success.

“It’s a look of belief,” said Andreas. “Whether it’s a nod of the head or what they have in their eyes, that gets my blood boiling a little bit. That makes it even more fun.”

Why was the offensive line so effective?

Why did Jesuit again run for more than 200 yards and grate yet another opponent into the ground with a businesslike manner that operated like clock work?

For 14 straight games last year these two questions were pitched to Jesuit’s giants along the trenches, and each time the answer could be traced back to Andreas, who once slipped on the green and gold and put his hand in the ground for Potter and the Crusaders. Andreas is a player’s coach, someone who’s more than just a sergeant-style general screaming at his guys for three hours a day in the trenches. He’s adept at maximizing the talents, not just of individuals, but also different collective units of size, skill level and experience.

“In my opinion, he’s the greatest offensive line coach in the state,” said senior left tackle Nick Miller. “I love playing for him. He gets after us when we need to hear ways to improve, but he’s also one of the most supportive coaches I’ve ever had. I just to know he has my back when I need it, but he also won’t let me be mediocre. He’ll push me to be the best I can.”

“He’s the best line coach in the state, hands down,” said former Jesuit all-state center Charlie Landgraf of Andreas. “He’s able to take guys who who are in-between positions and don’t really know who they are and teach them the fundamentals. He stressed getting after it, repetition and working hard. He did a great job.”

Andreas has coached a variety of offensive lines, ranging from the Division One-bound unit of two years ago with the likes of Doug Brenner, Andrew Kirkland and Max Rich to the lesser-known, but highly productive of last year with Landgraf, Miller, Mike Miller, Ben Jarrett and David Brugato that had four players selected to 6A’s first-team all-state squad.

“I like coaching good guys,” said Andreas with a laugh. “The Brenner group had the size and the prototypical offensive line look that’s fun to coach. But, then also to take the guys who are the unsung and turn them into something special, that’s the backbone of a team and buy in, is great. It’s fun no matter which way I look at it. I enjoy what I do.”

The man pulling the strings behind the Crusaders’ iron stone curtain, stands about 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, less than his playing days, but still strong enough to jump into a drill and forcefully show one of his pupils how to rock a defensive linemen on his heels.

The leader shepherding arguably one of the best offensive lines in the land has a voice loud enough to eclipse the din of a thundering Friday-night crowd, that’s sharp and direct, yet always encouraging and reassuring.

“There’s times where he’s ready to jump into the drill, and (Andreas) is ready to take you on,” said senior right guard Paul Vickers with a laugh. “He’s one of the most intense coaches I’ve ever worked with. And, he really likes the kids. He knows all of us. He says ‘Hi’ to us in the hallways, and he really cares about what we do and who we are as people.”

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit offensive line coach John Andreas played four seasons for the Crusaders during the early 90s and has a strong relationship with head coach Ken Potter.

Andreas has always wanted to teach and coach having been around his dad, John Sr., who coached girls’ basketball at Valley Catholic and recently retired from Blanchet Catholic after 34 years on the job.

A history teacher at Jesuit, Andreas played offensive line for Potter from 1992-1996 and moved onto Portland State where he played four seasons of collegiate ball. He and Potter have a well fortified understanding relationship, one in which Potter puts a lot of trust in his former player to make sure Jesuit is prepared for live bullets. Andreas likewise has faith in Potter’s run-first, run-second, run-third style of play calling. Andreas attributes Jesuit’s resolve to run the football, even when opposing defenses know what’s coming when the ball’s snapped, as a means to the Crusaders’ wild amount of success pounding the rock over the years. To line up across from a surly, 300-pound defensive tackle who’s well-aware the ball’s most likely not going to be tossed downfield, and still pick up five yards a carry on nearly every rushing play requires a blue collar, lunchpail sort of demeanor.

“It’s really a workman’s type mentality,” said Andreas. “We get after it every day. That’s great to have because it’s a consistent thing that runs through our program year after year after year. We lose a lot of guys it seems, but our guys are able to realize what others have done in the past and want to get where they were. They know what to expect.”

Potter’s reliance on the run game creates a consistency for both Andreas and the Crusader o-line, who are able to hone their techniques repeatedly in practice with the realization 40-45 run plays could be called in from the Jesuit sideline on gameday. Andreas stresses fundamentals and repetition before anything else, which accordingly promotes positive habits that can be easily replicated in demanding game scenarios.

“We start out the same every single day,” said Andreas. “We’re not mixing anything or doing anything too terribly special. It’s a lot of basics. You come to our practice and you’ll see us do the same exact thing every single day. We spend a ton of time on our first step (off the line scrimmage) and the speed of that first. Then, we work our way up from there. We want it to become second nature for the guys, and that’s what gets these guys to perform.”

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