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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — They’re all gone.

Trinadai Stansel, who stopped Kadena’s Jordan Ray on a two-point try, and Willie Brown, who had two second-half takeaways in the biggest game of the season. Even coach Julian Harden is out after six years.

Seoul American begins anew for the 2009 football season, with plenty of new faces, starting at the top. Longtime Yokota assistant Alan Morton takes the helm of the two-time Class AA champion Falcons.

He aims to build on more than just Seoul American’s 22-21 victory over Kadena in last year’s Class AA final; he plans to turn his players into do-it-yourself self-starters, for now and the future.

"Prepare them not only as players here, but at the next level, as coaches, so they can become students of the game," said Morton, who served as defensive coordinator for part of last season.

Morton hopes to empower the players, so that by midseason, his defensive captains are calling defensive signals and his quarterbacks and offensive captains are calling the plays, even changing them at the line if need be.

"By midseason, I want to sit back and watch the game," Morton said.

Pretty ambitious, since Morton plans to install the intricate Wing-T offense. Although his players are "highly motivated" in advance of the Falcons’ season opener, Morton must deal with what most coaches face after a mass departure of players.

"I haven’t been able to run anybody off," Morton said. "But we’re a young team."

He has plenty of bodies, 52 to be exact. But only 31 percent of them are returning players, and only four of them started.

Most of them are interior; the other is versatile skills player Demetrius Johnson. They’re complemented by an infusion of junior varsity talent, plus move-in senior running backs Jamal James and Lionel Curry.

"Everything hinges on how quickly everything develops," Morton said.

Things must develop even more quickly for Osan American, where new coach Mike Miano must whip into shape a Class A runner-up that didn’t get its pads in from reconditioning in the States until Aug. 28.

Until they did, the Cougars had "been doing mostly chalk talk," said Miano, who the past two years was defensive assistant at Daegu and Yokota. "Things will have to fall into place quickly."

Incredibly, that makes Daegu American’s Ken Walter, in his third season, the most senior coach in Korea. Unlike Seoul and Osan, which returns just five starters among 30 players, 67 percent of Walter’s Warriors return, as do 50 percent of his starters.

Trouble is, Daegu has only 16 players on its roster. The first 11, including proven senior interior men Josh Grossard, David Martinez and Allen Thomas, are solid, but the Warriors have few options behind them.

"We don’t have a second 11," Walter said. "We don’t have depth. We’re an injury away from playing practice-squad players."

Team capsulesSeoul American Falcons, South Post, Yongsan Garrison2008-Overall, 6-1, .857, 136 points for, 65 points against. League, 4-1, .800, 95 points for, 28 points against. Won DODDS-Pacific Far East Class AA semifinal 19-16; won Class AA championship 22-21 over Kadena last Nov. 8.Head coach-Alan Morton, first season.Returning players-16.Returning starters-4.Base offense-Wing-T.Base defense-4-man fronts.Key returners-Demetrius Johnson, Sr., FB-LB; Han Yoo, So., DE; Jason White, Sr., OT; Steve Brown, Sr., C; Michael Masolo, So., QB-CB.Key newcomers-Brandon Morton, Fr., QB; Jamal James, Sr., RB; Lionel Curry, Sr., RB; Brian Morton, Jr., OL-DL; Tyler Coulson, Jr., OL-DL.Strengths-Discipline, sound fundamentals, aggressiveness; they like to hit, Morton says.Drawbacks-Youth, inexperience.Overview-Rebuilding. Ever-ambitious, Morton wants his captains to call defensive coverages and play calls by midseason. Everything hinges on how quickly everything develops.

Osan American Cougars, Osan Air Base2008-Overall 3-4, .429, 62 points for, 134 points against. League 2-3, .400, 48 points for, 99 points against. Lost Class A title game 35-7 last Nov. 1 at Robert D. Edgren.Head coach-Mike Miano, first season (spent 2007 with Daegu American, 2008 with Yokota as defensive assistant).Returning players-12.Returning starters-5.Base offense-Maryland Power I.Base defense-4-3 with variations.Key performers-Mike Gilliam, Sr., RB-DE-DL-LB; Travis Nehr, Sr., OL-DL; Dominic Oliveiro, Jr., OL-DL; Jake Mattison, Jr., QB; Tim Nehr, Jr., LB.Strengths-Size, speed. Defensive line looks solid.Drawbacks-Late preparation, late start; pads didn’t arrive until Aug. 28 from reconditioning in the States.Overview-Reloading. Third head coach in three seasons doesn’t help stability, but Miano plans on sticking around for a few years to build a winner. Miano plans to stick with what’s worked on the offense that led the way to the Class A title game.

Daegu American Warriors, Camp Walker2008-Overall, 2-5, .286, 88 points for, 123 points against. League, 2-4, .333, 76 points for, 92 points against.Head coach-Ken Walter, third season.Returning players-10.Returning starters-6.Base offense-Spread option.Base defense-4-3.Key returners-Antoine Feagin, Sr., RB-LB; Trey Griffin, Jr., QB-S; David Martinez, Sr., DB-CB-SL; Jerel Connie, Jr., OL-DL; Christian Hillman, Jr., OL-DL; Demetrius Williams, Jr., OL-DL.Key newcomers-Anthony Lampman, Fr., OL-DL; Josh Grossard, Sr., WR-LB; Allen Thomas, Sr., OL-DL.Strengths-Speed, quickness, togetherness and experience in interior.Drawbacks-Ironman across the board with just 16 total players.Overview-Reloading/contending. Walter, amazingly, becomes the most senior head coach in the league. His first 11, he says, can play with anybody, but one or two injuries could put the Warriors’ bid to return to the Class A title game in serious jeopardy.

Schedule

Saturday, Sept. 12Seoul American at Osan American, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 19Seoul American vs. Daegu American at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 2 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 25Osan vs. Daegu at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 26Kadena (Okinawa) at Seoul American, 6 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 2Osan American at Seoul American, 6 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 9Seoul American vs. Daegu at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 10Osan at Singapore Falcons, 3 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 16 Daegu at Seoul American, 2 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 23Daegu at Osan, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24Korean club at Seoul American, 6 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 30Daegu vs. Osan, time and site TBD, if necessary

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He served 10½ years in the Air Force, the last 4½ assigned to Stripes in Tokyo, and was then hired by Stripes on Oct. 25, 1985. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages Pacific Storm Tracker.
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