Earlier this week, Patriots assistant coaches were made available for interviews with media members. The availability occurs sparingly over the course of a season, maybe once or twice, and produced several pieces from local sportswriters.
For this week’s “football journey,” we follow a similar path with cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer, a native of Heath, Ohio, who is in his eighth season with the Patriots (3 as a coaching assistant, 3 as secondary coach, 2 as cornerbacks coach).
When he first became involved in football: “It started when I was a kid. My father [Jeff] has been a high school football coach for 35 years at this point, and I was always with him and around football. Ever since I could walk, I was going to practices. That’s kind of where it started.”
When he first started playing football: “In junior high, and it continued through high school and then at a small, Division III school in college [Muskingum, in Ohio]. I got into coaching after that.”
Positions that he played: “A little bit of everything in high school. Quarterback when our quarterback got hurt. Receiver. Outside linebacker. Corner. Safety. Then when I got to college, I was a receiver for my first three years and then I moved to corner my senior year.”
What led him into coaching: “I think it was pretty much a given; that’s always what I was going to do. I just followed the path of playing to coaching. I’ve always wanted to be part of the game.”
What he appreciates about football: “I have a great deal of respect for the game. I like it because it relates to life so intimately. There are always a lot of ups and downs in life, and there are a lot of ups and downs in football. You get knocked down, you have to get back up – the same thing in life as in football. I think there are a lot of valuable lessons in the game itself that kind of relate to life and I’ve always enjoyed that. I also think it’s great to be part of something that’s bigger than you. Football is, to me, the ultimate team game. You need everyone doing their job to be successful at it.”
Detailing his coaching progression: “I went right into college, with King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania [in 2000]. They had a great staff there and it was a great start for me. I got to learn a lot from those guys, a very dedicated grinding-type staff. From there, I went to the University of Dayton, which was an established program. When I was there, the head coach and both coordinators had been there for 27 years. Then I went with Dean Pees to Kent State and spent a couple of years with him there [2002-03], before coming out to Rhode Island at Bryant [University] and coached with Marty Fine. It was a new staff there, so that was kind of good to build the program back up to where it is now. Then, from there, I had the opportunity to go out to South Dakota [at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology] and then got a call here from the Patriots [in 2006].”
If then-defensive coordinator Dean Pees was the catalyst for him landing with the Patriots: “I’m sure he had something to do with it. I came in, talked to Bill [Belichick], and it just kind of worked out.”
Primary influences in coaching: “I’d say my father is definitely one. Coach [Mike] Drake, who was at Kent State and passed away while I was there, was another big influence on me. There have been so many of them that it’s hard to name them all, because growing up as a coach’s son you meet so many coaches. That’s all you’re around. You take from all your experiences, good and bad.”
On what makes a good coach: “The way I’ve always looked at it is that it’s a coach’s job to put a player in the position to make plays, and it’s the player’s job to make plays. As long as you’re giving the players good information, I think that’s the key for a coach.”
Summing up his football journey and the future: “Progressing. It’s a start and there’s not a finish in sight. I just take it one day at a time. I don’t reflect too much on where I’ve been. I think the places you’ve been, you take something from each of them, learn from mistakes, and do the best you can.”