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Things learned, observed in Daegu High Warriors football camp

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer once more remembers why he prefers taking trains to taking buses in Korea:

-- Much new and unusual for Warrior Football Nation to like entering the coming season.

-- Try 41 players on the roster. That’s more than twice the number they normally get. Instead of their usual 15 to 18 bodies and finding two wet-behind-the-ears football greenhorns, now, they have to determine “which players they absolutely cannot live without” when making those inter-district trips.

-- Try four linemen weighing 235 pounds or more. Senior Chris Walker 235, junior Steven Robinet 240, sophomores Miguel Cardona 240 and T.J. Masters 260. Something else they’ve never had before.

-- Try raiding the basketball team for five receivers, all 6-foot-1 or taller. Seniors Anfernee Dent, Dawud Abdul-Azeez, junior Caleb Page and sophomore Torian James. Yet another luxury they’ve never had before.

-- A good, solid relationship between new head coach Luke Spencer, for six years the team’s defensive coordinator under Ken Walter, and basketball coach Phillip Loyd had much to do with the receiver glut.

-- Sidebar to this: Walter, the school’s athletics director, stepped aside to groom Spencer as the head coach, but hasn’t stepped away from the team; he’s coaching the offensive line.

-- Continually getting in the weight room, calling it home by many, has had much to do with Warriors football players being Arkansas-mule strong. When James first came to the football team, he could barely deadlift 65 pounds, Spencer said. Now, James is repping 275 pounds 10 times.

-- Robinet has also been working the weights hard, Spencer said. “He’s a wrecking ball.”

-- Page accumulated 293 all-purpose yards in a 30-13 loss to Korea National University. “He’s a beast,” Spencer said.

-- Throwing the ball to those receivers and handing off to Page, who’ll see some backfield time, is an untried sophomore, David Cooper. “He’s learning the position, but he has a sweet arm. He plays the position right,” Spencer said.

-- Warriors teams of past years had been plagued by cliques and divisiveness, something Spencer says has disappeared this season. More of a family atmosphere. More unity. “We’ve never seen that before here,” Spencer said.

-- Right down to the 2 minutes, 40 seconds needed for water breaks, every drill in practice is scripted and timed, regimented down to the final gun at 20 minutes before six.

-- Plus, there’s the hunger from last season, what many in Warrior Nation refer to as a lost season. First time since 2008 that they had not reached the Far East Division II championship game, after a run of four years that included titles in 2009 and 2012. What really burns brightly is the memory of a 30-8 home loss to eventual D-II runner-up Robert D. Edgren. One thing that Walter, Spencer and all in Warrior Country say they don’t want to have happen again.

-- Warrior 2013 opens on Friday at Seoul American; kickoff is at 6 p.m. on Sims Field.
 

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Ornauer on AFN

 

Stars and Stripes reporter Dave Ornauer talks about the Pacific sports scene on AFN Radio. (Click on right arrow to play file.)

 

May 30: Recapping ASIJ's and Zama's Far East baseball championships that capped the Pacific high school sports school year..

May 23: A look back at the Far East track championships and a look ahead at the ongoing baseball finals..

May 9:High school track's postseason begins in Japan and the regular season comes to a close in soccer..