Concordia prepares for first football practicePublished 7:45pm Friday, July 26, 2013
Entering his first full season as head coach at Concordia College Alabama, Don Lee cannot wait for football season to arrive.
“I’m excited. I get to start a team fresh,” Lee said. “Starting off in the springtime, we came in and we put in our system, but now it is good going into the season to see how well your system can be executed.”
The Hornets will start two-a-days Aug. 4, which will give Lee his first look at his team since spring practices.
After taking over as head coach following the third game last season, Lee led Concordia to a 6-3 record.
He said he fought the urge to change up the offensive and defensive schemes to what he likes to do when he took over in 2012, because he knew it would disrupt the Hornets’ season. Instead, he used last season to evaluate the talent on the roster to see what he had to work with.
“It was an opportunity for us to evaluate a lot of things; evaluate the system, evaluate the players and then come into spring ball and see what fits into your system,” Lee said.
Lee’s pass heavy, Air Raid offensive system will give opponents little time between plays, while his defensive schemes are based around applying a lot of pressure to opposing offenses to force turnovers.
Most of Concordia’s players went home during the offseason, so they have had a lengthy layoff. Lee hopes that his team remembers some of the things he taught them during spring practice, so that he does not have to start from scratch.
“As a head coach, what you like to see is, if you can get 10 percent of your players that remember what you [did] through the spring, you have something awesome to build off of,” Lee said. “You don’t have to teach all that again, because the system is there. Now you work on fundamentals, and I’m a big fundamental person. Fundamentals are where it’s at. You’ve got to teach fundamentals.”
Lee said the biggest challenge he’s faced is recruiting, because he didn’t have a full staff until last week. He said he’s been recruiting since December 2012, but doing it all without a full staff has been difficult.
However, he has had a lot of success. Lee said he has more than 100 freshman coming in this year as he attempts to rebuild the roster.
“When your bulk is all freshman, you bring pride,” Lee said. “They aren’t learning bad habits, and they have got a great opportunity to play right away. They have a good turnaround; they buy into the system.”
Lee said his team will also bring back some upperclassmen, but he wants the older players to solve problems, not create problems — something he said has not been the case in recent years.
The Hornets open their season against Abilene Christian (Texas) on the road Aug. 31.