Photo courtesy of Ed Kaufer.
By Dan Gudino
When I was looking for a player to interview I asked myself, “What should I look for in this team of Long Beach Poly?”
I first thought I should get Poly’s Coach Raul Lara to recommend a player.
Then thinking, “How about a star player?”
Like Juju Smith, who has countless letters from Division 1 schools. I decided not to go the star route because the publicity is already there. I’d probably just reiterate what was already being said.
I decided to hold off on the player profile until I observed a few games.
Before the season started I had a sit down talk with L.B. poly Head Coach Raul Lara.
Going through players and strategy, he mentioned he has always used a two-quarterback system. I found this to be very engaging. Who was the other quarterback?
I did not have film, nor did I have stats on this guy. So I observed.
Josh Love’s name kept playing through the season in the PA after his completions. More and more I kept paying attention.
He has not allowed a turnover in this young season. To my surprise he looks like a starting QB on any team.
Still not knowing much about him I thought he was part of the local talent which breeds great athletes in Long Beach. It was not until the Servite loss, a game which he looked poised and determined that I found out he transferred from Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.
I decided to sit down with Josh and his father and discuss what brought us together …
It was a pleasure talking to both. Josh Love is a 6’2, 188 lbs pure pocket passer from the No. 16 ranked football team in the nation, the Jackrabbits.
Josh helps this team with his tremendous accuracy. His ability to string passes through defenders provides consistency and keeps starting QB Tai Tiedemann on his toes. A good thing. (Tiedemann, now part of the MLB, Texas Rangers organization)
Chants of “Josh-Love-Josh-Love” were heard in the stands, heard by journalist, writers, and cameramen, wanting Josh to be put into the game. As the season went on, chants became moans and groans from Poly faithful.
When I approached Coach Lara about this his response was firm, ” I don’t care what anybody says.”
This is the game plan Lara imposed on this team. One game, two QBs play. Part of the reason is he wants both guys to have experience under their belts is, “If one guy goes down, I want the next guy up to have some experience under him.”
When speaking with Josh this is where his slogan, his mantra comes from.
It actually stems from Washington Redskins, QB Robert Griffin III, who in the preseason did not play a single game because Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan refused to put RGIII in because he was taking care of his surgically repaired knee, despite Griffin being ready.
Other coaches, players, friends and family have spoken to Josh about being patient.
I figure for an individual who thinks highly of his abilities as a QB to be called the number two QB on the depth chart must be very tough. I went in and asked, but not before wanting to know, why football, why not any other sport?
Josh says it’s his favorite sport with a convinced face. As a kid Josh developed a minor problem with his arm from throwing a baseball so much. Just a small reason he led himself onto a football field.
As the conversation went on we talked about his transfer to Long Beach Poly from Tesoro.
The main reason was academics. Josh being the hard worker he is, part of the (CIC) Center for International Commerce, which offers students the opportunity to study a variety of subjects with a global emphasis. CIC prepares students for college level academics and offers a chance at success, giving them business minded skills.
These students are accepted to the University of California system, Ivy League, and other numerous private universities throughout the United States. It is this program that gives Josh his reason to be a Jackrabbit. “The atmosphere in L.B. is different. Everyone is welcoming,” Josh said..
It was not an easy transition. At Tesoro, he went through a team’s ups and downs. Tesoro’s Coach got fired. His QB coach was arrested on heroin charges. We won’t get into this at all and focus on Josh as a football player.
Another reason for transferring is his father’s job has a greater opportunity in Long Beach. Positioning the Love family for future success comes from the city of Long Beach.
Josh is a fiery young man. His upset in the Servite loss caused me to ask, ” What he thinks of the two QB system?”
“I won the job, all coaches are on my side,” but Josh reassured me, “There is no controversy”
The game plan revolves around two quarterbacks.
He doesn’t get upset anymore and now takes his opportunities to his advantage. He did all this at a flick of a light switch. He has had to adjust to this quickly in a four-game span. He feels when he is on the field his team will win. Now this sort of confidence is what all coaches need from their QB. I found this to be his greatest ability, greater than his arm.
There is no bragging in Josh, just pointing out to what is real, again Josh has not allowed a turnover this season.
Being a junior at Poly is a good thing right now, the opportunity to be looked at by colleges is greater in the L.B.C.
At this time he has no offers.
But with this season just starting and all his senior year on the horizon it looks like this guy’s presence will get to shine. It’s his patience that will burn onto the high school football scene.
I brought up Juju Smith and how he will be gone after the season. With a positive manner he gave credit and mentioned his future go to guys.
“We have Johnnie Rucker who caught my TD pass yesterday, Douglas Curry, Daejohn Logan, Jackie Jones, CeeJhay French-Love, Taariq Johnson and Biggie (Iman Marshall).”
Showing his humbleness to make sure they are recognized for their efforts.
Josh’s expectations are very simple and direct. In short answers I got an understanding of his goals from high school football. Academics and playing at the next level. He’d like to attend Stanford or UCLA. Great ambition. Like his expectation for this season, “A state ring and CIF ring.”
He feels like this about his play as well.
“If you want to win keep me in the game. I’ll do anything to win the game like take the hit. I play like it’s the playoffs.” Josh said. It’s this belief in himself and a higher source that makes Josh a great example to many.
Every Wednesday a group of students athletes meet up at lunch time for their weekly FCA meeting. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is led by Coach Herm. Where they talk about god, read verses and join together in prayer.
“Religion is important to me absolutely,” Josh said, when describing the FCA.
When I heard about this side of Josh it brought a welcoming feeling from him to me. I liked this about him the most. It was good to hear that a separation of church and state was not present at L.B. Poly.
When football is not the most important thing in one’s life it is easy to play a game like football. Josh plays with a strong knowing that he is the main man. Keeping this within himself has put Poly to continue rolling this season. An eye should always be kept on Josh Love when he is on the field. Technique and poise will be seen. As a fan and journalist covering Josh and the Jackrabbits this season will be fun.
Can’t wait for him to continue with his great play and see him develop into a greater person.
(Update: Josh is now competing for the starting QB role in Spring 2017 at San Jose State.)