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Mershman: From playing to coaching (11-26-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 10:14
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Aaron Mershman instructs the Falcons during a recent practice at Perry Stadium. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Aaron Mershman has made a quick and easy transition from college football player to college football coach.
Mershman, who was a standout quarterback at Bowling Green High School, is in his first season as a graduate assistant for the Bowling Green State University football program.
''I love what I do,'' Mershman said. ''I'm young, and I've got energy. I love being animated out here. The more animated you are, the more fun you have.''
Mershman had his college football career at Ball State end prematurely due to concussion syndrome. He played both quarterback and tight end/fullback during his career at Ball State, but had to give up football in the spring of 2012.
He stayed with the Cardinal  program as student coach for the 2012 season, and graduated in the spring of 2013.
Mershman had an inkling he wanted to coach while in high school, the seed germinated after Ball State's first game of the 2012 season.
''We played Eastern Michigan the first game of the year, and I left the game and told my parents that I couldn't do anything else; I had to coach.''
Mershman was coaching at Lindsey Wilson College, an NAIA school in Columbia, Ky., when BG head coach Dave Clawson gave him a call about a graduate assistantship.
''I weighed my options. Do I wait to get back to the Division I level, or take the opportunity to come back to my hometown and coach for a team I grew up loving?'' Mershman said. ''I couldn't pass it up.''
''He's from Bowling Green, and from a great family,'' Clawson said. ''He's very positive, with a lot of energy, a lot of juice, and he is very smart.
''He's done a great job. He's going to be an outstanding coach.''
Mershman, who also played linebacker at BGHS, works with the defense for the Falcons.
''He's responsible for breaking down the offensive film of an opponent,'' Clawson said. ''He helps coach the defensive line in individual drills.''
Mershman is enthusiastic and passionate about working with the defense.
''It's awesome for me,'' Mershman said. ''When we draw the cards for the scout team, I have a good idea of what the other team is trying to get done in terms of their play, who they are running their routes off of, and the blocking scheme.''
Clawson said it's not unusual for former players to starting out coaching on the opposite side of which they played. Clawson also followed that path at the start of his coaching career.
''When you first get into coaching, sometimes it's easier to break in on the opposite side of the ball because one of your jobs is to break down the side you were on,'' Clawson said.
Mershman sees the opportunity to work with the defense as helping him to his ultimate goal.
''I hope to become an offensive line coach and an offensive coordinator some day,'' Mershman said. ''There is no better way to make yourself better than to learn the other side of the ball early on in your career.''
There is a lot of grunt work for graduate assistants, but Mershman understands the reason for the hard work.
''One of the goals is to learn as much as you can when you are doing it. The second goal is to be mentored and learn from the coaches,'' he said. ''The third goal is to get these full-time coaches home to their kids and families as early as you possibly can.''
The graduate assistant program can be for three years, but Mershman is not sure how long he will stay with the Falcons.
''I certainly don't want to let my feet get in cement,'' said Mershman, who is working on his master's degree in sport administration. ''This is a career of keeping on the move.
''But I also want to soak up as much knowledge from a great staff as I possibly can, and serve them as best as I can,'' he continued. ''Clearly you want to stay a year and a half or two years and head on to the next place, that will have you. Certainly, I hope that's the path I can be on.''
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 16:25
 

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