After finishing the 2012 season 2-8, head coach Vince DiLorenzo said summer workouts have shown which players are dedicated to improving the team.
“Workouts are kind of a double-edged sword. We have the players that are showing up and working hard, but unfortunately there are some spotty players that we are counting on,” he said. “We’re trying to find out who wants to play, meaning who will show up and not make excuses.”
Throughout the summer the Wildcats have been doing seven-on-seven drills and working on the passing game, both executing and defending. DiLorenzo said the players also are working on their physical strength and mental toughness.
Woodland returns five starters on offense and five on defense for the 2013 season. DiLorenzo named eight players as key returners – quarterback Mason Robinson, receivers Qua Stocks and Quadre Allen, offensive tackle John Austin, safety Grant Quick, defensive tackle Brandy Jernigan, linebacker Isaiah Ross and defensive end Jermel Lewis.
They will have 16 seniors on the team this year and 16 freshmen as well on a squad of around 70 players. These numbers will create depth problems in the future as the county school system eliminated freshman athletics last year, DiLorenzo said.
Along with depth, DiLorenzo foresees issues with player development as there will be fewer freshmen coming out for the team because their chances of playing decrease and chances of injury increase if they must compete against upperclassmen.
“Once you take kids out, it’s hard to get them back in,” DiLorenzo said.
While the Wildcats are fighting through some rough elements, DiLorenzo said the players they do have are working hard and are very coachable. On top of that, he said his coaching staff is continuing to work hard as well, learning more and trying to do better, while also getting help from the administration.
“The administration is trying to help get teachers that can also coach football,” DiLorenzo said.
He explained how community coaches, while a great help, don’t get to develop the same type of relationship with the players as a full-time staff member would.
At the end of the day, DiLorenzo said, he would like to put a team on the field that works hard and plays with class.