GLENVIEW — Glenbrook South football coach Mike Noll said he considers Cody Carroll to be one of the top-10 wide receivers in the state and, through the first two games of the season, the senior has lived up to that billing.
Carroll has caught 12 passes for 263 yards and hauled in four touchdowns. His electric start isn’t surprising given that Carroll earned all-conference honors last year and possesses the physical gifts — he’s a strong, speedy, 6-foot-3 wideout with soft hands — that help a receiver regularly get open against single coverage.
What has surprised Carroll and Noll is that Prospect and Metea Valley didn’t make a concerted effort to limit his production.
“I actually wasn’t sure how it was going to go in the beginning of the season,” Carroll said. “We played both teams last year, and I thought they might shade the coverage to me and other players might be open. That wasn’t the case. It started out a little bit better than I thought it would.”
Noll, who’s the team’s offensive coordinator, said he was surprised to see that Carroll hasn’t been double-covered in the Titans’ first two games this season. Metea Valley matched up an average cornerback against Carroll, Noll said, and junior quarterback Fitz Stadler found Carroll for six receptions, 112 yards and two touchdowns in the first half of Glenbrook South’s 56-26 victory Friday.
Although Carroll has been able to operate in one-on-one coverage thus far, Noll expects him to draw increased attention as CSL South play nears. The Titans travel to Deerfield today.
“Early on, it’s like preseason in nonconference,” Noll said. “You’re trying to be good at what you do, and then when you get to the middle, you start game planning and we’ll use him in different ways (then).”
While Noll might choose to move Carroll into different areas on the field as the season goes on — the Titans’ coach didn’t want to give away what, exactly, he has in store — the senior has been working on disguising the routes he’s running.
Carroll has focused on improving the little things this season, Noll said, like his stance, his start, the stem of his route and keeping his numbers down when he’s running his routes. The goal has been to make the opening steps of every pass pattern look exactly the same in order to keep the defensive back guessing until Carroll makes his first cut.
Another reason why Carroll has been so effective so far this season is his relationship with Stadler, a first-year starter. The two have been working together for the last eight or nine months, Carroll said, throwing in Glenbrook South’s fieldhouse some mornings and coming into school on Sundays during the winter to work on their timing.
“He’s more of a playmaker this year,” Stadler said. “He’s just a big-bodied receiver and he just knows how to get it done.”