Cole Welch, fullback
By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD – Cole Welch, an All-Great Northern Conference guard with the Kingsford Flivvers, thought his college career would be at linebacker.
Until Michigan Tech needed a fullback.
“It’s the same thing as guard,” Welch said of his blocking back role. “They give me the ball every once in a while.
Added Welch with a chuckle, “They’ll give me the ball if it’s a yard or less. That’s the only time they trust me with it.”
Welch concludes his Michigan Tech role as a fullback this fall. The 2008 All-GNC guard expected to be at linebacker.
“During spring ball of my freshman year they moved me to fullback because we needed some more depth there,” Welch said this week from the 18th annual Dickinson Area Fundamental & Skills Football Camp at Kingsford High School. “Come season time the starter got hurt so I started seeing some playing time. “I didn’t know the playbook real well.”
After a redshirt season, Welch carried the football twice for two yards and no scores. Those numbers improved to 18 trips and 34 yards, with two touchdowns, in 2011.
Welch wasn’t in the Adrian Peterson class last year, but did churn for 46 yards on 24 attempts, and six touchdowns. That included a career-best run of eight yards.
“That was wild,” Welch said of his scamper. “I was playing pin ball (with the tacklers).”
Welch, who had no misgivings about the move to fullback, regards the situation like a pulling guard in the Kingsford offense.
“It’s really so much the same,” Welch said. “At fullback you just get three more yards to start.”
Welch (6-1, 225) had to learn how to handle the football at Tech. He never played running back at the youth level and touched the ball once when intercepting a pass as a high school sophomore.
He did jokingly ask Flivver coach Chris Hofer if he could move from the line.
“I told him I was going go play quarterback,” Welch said. “He said only if we run the single wing offense like Menominee.”
Welch and the Michigan Tech offense will need to replace the entire receiving corps including tight end Bryan LaChapelle of Crystal Falls. But the offensive line is back along with standout quarterback Tyler Scarlett.
“Tyler Scarlett is beyond good,” Welch said of the junior from Clarkston. “He’s smart, has an amazing arm and can thread the needle.”
As for personal goals, Welch just wants to be “100 percent ready” when he’s out there in short yardage situations.
“For my position, and I’m not in there all the time, there’s not a lot of awards,” said Welch, who did receive All-GLIAC honorable mention and the team’s “Iron Man” award last season. “I just want to be 100 percent when it’s third and short and I’m in the game. I want to be 100 percent getting the first down.”
The son of Tony and Wendy Welch is a chemical engineering major at Michigan Tech.