During the Bolingbook 7-on-7 Passing League last week, John Ivlow said the hardest thing for Dan Darlington in his new position as the Raiders’ offensive coordinator is learning the Bolingbrook option.
Then he smiled and hollered to Darlington, “How you guys coming with that Bolingbrook option, Dan?”
Ivlow is not prone to disclosing secrets, but the fact is, when he hired Darlington in the offseason to run the Raiders’ attack, he knew they would have a diversified offense that probably was explosive but capable of controlling the ball as well.
Anyone who followed Darlington’s sterling career at Morris anticipates nothing less.
When you mix in Ivlow’s 102-32 record in 12 years at Bolingbrook, the fact that he has a Class 8A state title on his resume and the quality of kids he has developed and will be featured when the Raiders take the field this fall, you see why Raider Nation is smiling.
Darlington came on board along with Jim Farber and Keith Laughary, who coached with him for so many years at Morris. Farber had been coaching on the sophomore level at Plainfield North the past couple of years.
Tim Kane, whose dad, Larry, coached Darlington during his playing days at Morris in the late 1960s, is the head coach at North. John Darlington, Dan’s son, is North’s excellent offensive coordinator.
Dan Darlington, who originally was hired as the first head coach at North, said he “tried to help a little at North the last five or six years, behind the scenes.”
Farber still teaches at North.
“I was committed to coaching on the sophomore level for Tim [Kane] at North,” Farber said. “He’s the one who helped me get to North. But when this came up, I talked to Tim and told him this is what I wanted to do.”
“John [Ivlow] and I talked about this five years ago, and I said no,” Dan Darlington said. “I had a house down in Arkansas then, but I sold it three years ago.
“John is moving toward retirement and he needed an offensive coordinator. I talked to Jim Farber, and he said if you do it, he will.”
So Darlington and Ivlow talked further, and the arrangement sounded better and better.
“John said to run what I want to run,” Darlington said. “That’s not a bad deal. I told him Keith [Laughary] has coached all those years with us, too, and he said he can come on board with us.
“We’re all in Morris, so we carpooled this summer. We have really enjoyed coming up here together.”
Laughary, who described himself as “the afterthought in this,” said the Bolingbrook coaching staff is in no way a collection of egos.
“We have a great staff,” he said. “Everyone gets to do his thing, and we’re having a lot of fun. These are great kids here. John has done a great job with them.”
“We talked about doing this for a long time,” Ivlow said. “These guys are a perfect fit on our staff.”
With former Naperville Central coach John Urban added on the defensive side, the dream staff has taken shape.
Darlington, whose teams posted a 264-55 record in his 28 years at Morris, said there is no mistaking who is in charge of the Raiders, however.
“There’s one head coach and it’s John [Ivlow],” he said. “He has done a great job. I am the offensive coordinator, that’s it.
“I’ll say this, it’s been fun to play against John’s defense this summer. Jim, Keith and I worked together so long, and John lets us do our thing.
That’s the way it’s got to be. It’s so comfortable being around him. He knows how to get it done right.”
On a team loaded with athleticism, senior Quincy Woods is right near the top of the stack. He quarterbacked the Raiders’ option offense last season.
He certainly is capable of continuing that pursuit, but he also is spending time at a wide receiver spot this summer, with senior Adam Klein stepping in at quarterback. Klein has been the Raiders’ place-kicker throughout his career.
“Quincy Woods is working at quarterback and receiver,” Darlington said. “He is one of the best receivers I have ever coached.
“It’s a mixed bag that we’re putting in this summer, a little bit of everything. We have good athletes. They have great speed. The kids are picking things up good.”
Woods said he is suited to quarterbacking the option.
“The option is more a running offense and is more a fit for me,” he said. “But I like our new offense, too.
“The coaches know a lot about offense. We’re learning a lot of new things. It’s going to do nothing but help us.”
All the new Bolingbrook coaches describe the Raiders as “great kids” with talent and expressed how thrilled they are to be on board.
“It’s easy to coach talent when you’ve got it,” Farber said. “This team has it.”