Grunting, sweating football players swear they are going to turn things around next year on the field. In the meantime, they will continue to flip over enormous tires.
Southwestern College’s gridders are on a mission to rebound from a disappointing season. Inconsistencies and injuries last year are what the Jaguars need to avoid, said Ed Carberry, the fifth-year head coach.
“It all starts with the quarterback position,” he said. “Three of our last four quarterbacks have been all-conference, but last year no one guy took the reigns.”
Running a spread-style offense will require a quarterback with a blend of brawn, smarts and accuracy.
“Throwing the ball all over the place allows our athletic guys to go and get something done with the ball,” said Carberry. “Overall our team this year is faster. We’re blessed to have guys with speed.”
Strength, quickness and endurance are key components for success in football, said sophomore left tackle Marc Pouvave, who credits Carberry’s tough offseason Monday-Thursday workouts for providing all three.
“The class is great,” said Pouvave. “It gets you in mental and physical shape for the season mentally, especially for freshman.”
Tuesdays and Thursdays the team focuses on power and strength. It starts with a team run to the soccer field then back to the weight room for a stretch.
Every day the team rotates its workout regiment in the weight room. After lifting, players go outside for hang cleans and tire flipping, two intense full-body workouts.
Pouvave, now taking Carberry’s class for the second time, said he recalls being worried about how strenuous the workouts would be.
“I was tired and worn out,” he said. “After you know you did it the first time you know you could it the rest of the time because the first time is always the hardest.”
Pouvave said he strives to play the game like San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl linebacker Shaun Phillips.
“Even though he is not the strongest person, mentally and physically he brings another level in the game that most players don’t,” said Pouvave.
Football, in the purest sense, is much like a choreographed dance. Perfecting that dance is number one on Carberry’s off-season to-do list.
“Our continuity of coaches will be atop the offseason fix list,” said Carberry. “Having coach Dionicio Monarrez back as defensive coordinator and about 90 percent of our coaches back is key. We all know each other pretty well and have a better understanding of what everybody is trying to achieve.”
Carberry said he hopes for the same quick start as last season, but without the fade at the end.
“This is very much a building program only being here for four years, we were fortunate in the second year to win the conference and get a bowl game,” said Carberry. “Then the last two years we’ve just been kind of funky, the ball hasn’t really bounced our way.”
Going into this offseason the coaching staff had holes to fill, most notably in the middle of the defense, where all-conference defenders Ramsey Iapala and Thomas Tutogi will boh be on to four-year universities.
“If you don’t know a thing about football and happen to wander by you’d know who they were because they stood out,” said Carberry. “We’ll find out if we have guys as good as them, I hope we do.”
Holes will be filled with new talent coming from high schools as well as players returning from injury, such as sophomore defensive back Nick Floyd.
“The college game is longer, everybody’s much bigger and better,” he said. “This is everyone’s last chance, so we’re all fighting for a scholarship.”
Winning is the team’s ultimate goal in 2011, Floyd said.
“Win that championship, go 10-0 and then go to a bowl game and win it all,” he said. “That’s it.”
Like many teammates, Floyd is playing for a university scholarship. He has garnered interest from Iowa State.
Carberry said he does not judge success on the material things.
“When looking back at your career and it’s all said and done, you see where all the players ended up and the success they had,” said Carberry. “We talk to the guys now and tell them that our vision for them isn’t so much right now as it is down the road, when they’ve got a house, a wife, 2.5 kids and a degree. That would define success for me.”