Cook Hornet Perfects Switch from Linebacker to QB

A strange transition has happened down in Adel.

Going out on a linebacker limb, the Cook Hornets have changed linebacker Ross Pickle into a quarterback. And with early success, Hornets coach Ken Cofer is thinking even bigger for next season.

"The joke was next year we're going to move a defensive lineman to quarterback," Coach Cofer said.

Pickle was a 2011 All-Region linebacker moved over to 2012 starting QB. The defensive coaches may miss their star, but the Hornets say the unique challenge has helped Pickle at his new position.

"You learn contact more. You're not scared to take go in there and you know what the defense is going to do because that's what you played," Pickle said.

"Ross was mean enough to play linebacker when he was a sophomore, but it was just kind of understood that he was going to slide in to that quarterback spot when he was a senior," Cofer said.

Pickle has been effective in blowout Cook wins over Worth and Crisp County, but not without some help. Former Cook quarterback Zack Folsom has become the quarterback coach mentoring Pickle along the way.

Last season, Folsom was leading the Hornets to the GHSA State playoffs. Now, a freshman at Valdosta State, Folsom has begun his coaching career working with his best friend.

"I've been best friends with (Folsom)...we've always played together. He's been where I'm at, so he knows what's going on and what I'm feeling," Pickle said.

"We basically think the same. We've hung out so much together that we know what the other person is thinking basically finishing each other's sentences. We're just one step after another," Folsom said.

There's still work to do with Pickle. The largest is forcing the senior to forget about his past in the back seven of Cook's defense.

"Oh yeah, I miss that. I wish I could go both ways. It's just something I love doing," Pickle said.

"It's a big mental change. He has to understand he's not out there hitting people. He's got to get down and save himself for the next play. He can't go out there and try to run over people all the time," Folsom said.

Feeling a little bit of withdrawal away from the rush of attacking an opposing quarterback, the Hornets unquestioned leader is still willing to sacrifice.

Pickle is focused solely on a Hornets region and state title. He'll play whatever position helps the Hornets accomplish those goals.