RIVER GROVE — It is not uncommon for players to work both sides of the ball, especially at smaller schools like Guerin.
It is quite another thing, though, to see a defensive lineman split duties with one of the skill positions, like wide receiver.
Junior Vince Caeti is that rare breed for the Gators. He chases down quarterbacks from his defensive end spot, then catching their passes as a wideout.
During Saturday’s 36-0 loss to Wheaton Academy, Caeti caught a 13-yard pass and spent plenty of time trying to slow down the Warriors offensive attack.
Guerin coach Glen Kozlowski said there are not many similarities between the two positions.
“They are not even close, one [defensive end] is a strength and just go, and the other is finesse and running routes,” Kozlowski said. “He [Caeti] is able to flip the switch most of the time.
“He is a kid that will continue to get better, the sky is the limit. Nobody works harder than him in the weight room.”
Caeti takes the same approach no matter if he is on offense or defense.
“You just have to be energized and go out hard every play, 100 percent, you cannot give up on plays,” Caeti, who’s 6-2, 191 pounds, said. “You have to be aggressive the whole time, you have to have the same mentality. [You need] the same approach on every play, going hard on every play.”
Caeti started playing football after he came to Guerin (1-2) and has played both positions since he was a freshman. While willing to play on both sides of the ball, he does have a favorite.
“I love playing defensive end; I love playing defense,” said Caeti. “[I love] just hitting people, getting to the quarterback and hitting him. Having a defensive mind-set that I have, you have the same approach going out there on offense.”
To be able to excel at such disparate positions takes a special type of player.
“He is a great athlete, he is still learning to play game,” Kozlowski said. “As an individual player he is solid and really going to keep getting better. His next step is to be a leader and get everybody to play with his intensity.”
Caeti practices both positions during the week.
“Defensive line (is tougher), going against our tackles Ken [West] and Steve [Swiecicki],” Caeti said. “They are pretty big guys and two of the best offensive lineman I will play against, so that really helps in practice.”