Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Poised and Polished

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Poised and Polished

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - Seven-on-7 football tests your reflexes, athleticism and intelligence. Mostly, it tests how quickly a quarterback can adjust to what he's seeing develop in front of him.

No one has had to make more adjustments than Elmwood Park quarterback Mike Dare.

The senior, who has committed to Rutgers, will have his third head coach in as many years this fall. It's not because the Crusaders haven't been successful, just the opposite in fact. Two straight playoff appearances have the town buzzing and new coach Tom Mulligan has an impressive hometown pedigree.

Dare also has had to overcome an injury to the thumb on his throwing hand that required surgery. He threw a football in earnest for the first time at the Rutgers Skills Camp earlier this month.

Wednesday at the South Bergen 7-on-7 Shootout held at both Becton and Wallington, Dare looked brilliant at times, showing off his powerful arm and soft touch. He looked at ease in the pocket, but remember, no one is trying to sack you in 7-on-7.

"I love 7-on-7," Dare said. "It's a thing where I think I can show off my talents. When I was at Rutgers, they told me I killed it up there. They were excited about how I performed and how my team did. We did very well."

The injury prevented Dare from throwing a football much in the off-season, so he spent time in the film room and getting as many mental reps as he could.

"He has really polished his stuff," Mulligan said. "He is making those intermediate throws now and he's starting to put them on a dime and that just comes from repetition. He's recognizing fronts and coverages. He's becoming the total package."

Mulligan may have been the Crusaders coach for only two weeks, but he knows Dare from having coached him in junior football. He knows what Dare is capable of.

In fact, Elmwood Park seemed to luck out when Mike Farrington had to step down after one season. Mulligan is Elmwood Park's head wrestling coach and had been an assistant coach for several years at Becton.

"It was [hard to lose Farrington]. The season had already started," Dare said. "So it was a downer for us, but I figured someone inside the program would get it and once I heard Coach Mulligan got it I was excited. …

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