Yough has ‘extension of a coach’ in WR Roebuck

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Thursday, August 25, 2022 | 12:01 AM


When he found out he was moving from quarterback to receiver late last season, Yough’s Gavin Roebuck had mixed emotions.

OK, he was pretty bummed out.

Distraught and disconnected, he was a wayward soul who lost his footing and suddenly was sliding down the side of Cougar Mountain.

But then his perception began to change as compromise merged with curiosity and he started to embrace the new role.

“It was humbling and discouraging at first,” the senior said. “But now, to be honest, I can see the game better, and it’s better for the team.”

Roebuck played the last three games of 2021 at wideout and, though he only caught one pass after completing 45 of them, he began to warm up to receiver.

Tristan Waldier swapped spots with Roebuck, who started nine games at quarterback over the last two years.

Now sophomore Raidon Kuroda will start under center for the Cougars, who open the Ben Hoffer coaching era Friday night at home against South Allegheny. Roebuck will be one of his main targets.

“Gavin is such a crisp route-runner,” Hoffer said. “He is such a smart kid and has great habits. If I had 30 of him this year, we’d be pretty good. We need him at receiver.”

Roebuck is one of the most cerebral wideouts you’ll come across at the prep level: “I’m a B-plus or up student. Just pay attention and get your work done. It’s not that hard,” he said.

“I love the game. On Sundays, I’m watching football from 1 to 11 (p.m.). I watch college games all the time, too. If football isn’t on, I am looking up footwork drills.”

He particularly analyzes pass-catchers like Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow.

“I like to watch their footwork and how they sell a route,” he said.

Hoffer appreciates Roebuck’s unwavering attention to detail.

Roebuck suggested the Cougars get into the habit of watching more film to better right the wrongs that occur in games. The Cougars plan to watch five to six hours of film a week, Hoffer said.

“He is an extension of a coach,” Hoffer said. “Like a point guard in basketball. He calls the huddle on defense. I like to take advice from players. If he thinks we should try something, I will listen.”

Having played quarterback, Roebuck has a sense of what the game looks like from under center. It’s fast-moving, and snap decisions are critical. But receiver has its own unique view.

“I see the game differently at receiver,” he said. “I see things I didn’t see before. I like it.”

The red-haired Roebuck, born and raised in West Newton and nicknamed “Buck” from baseball, comes from an athletic family.

He has five siblings and is the youngest of three brothers.

You don’t want to mess with his sisters.

Nathaniel and Brendan Roebuck also played football at Yough, but so did two of his sisters.

Kylie Roebuck played four years and saw varsity time at Yough, even playing linebacker in a game.

Katie Roebuck, a softball player, played midget football.

Makayla Roebuck, another sister, is a cheerleader.

“We’re all pretty tough,” Gavin Roebuck said. “Growing up with two older brothers, you have to be tough. My dad taught us, when you get into something you stick with it. I think that way about everything: Put your mind to it and go get it.”

And that includes footballs thrown his way or potential pass break-ups he sees coming his way as the Cougars’ safety.

His father, Dave, has coached youth and middle school football in the district, and his grandfather has high school coaching experience.

Roebuck, who also plays baseball (third base/pitcher) and wrestles (189 pounds) for Yough, didn’t let an injury detract him from football.

When he was 10, he suffered a serious concussion and sprained neck that forced him to wear a brace for a month.

“I missed like three or four games but came back,” he said. “I didn’t want to be tentative when I came back. I wanted to come back stronger.”

Just like he did when he surrendered the quarterback reins and found his new role.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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