The Griffonsâ€™ 2007 season was filled with many highlights. The pinnacle of the season came with the victory over the Wayne State Wildcats in the 42nd annual Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Mo. This yearâ€™s squad hopes to follow in the legacy of success.
Beginning March 24, the public will be able to get a first hand look at the 2008 Griffons, as spring football practice begins. The main purpose of spring practice is to shake cob webs and work on fundamental techniques. Offensive coordinator Tyler Fenwick agrees,
â€œSpring practice works on the fundamental things like tackling, blocking, getting used to the schemes and getting the playerâ€™s minds back into the game,â€ Fenwick said.
Aside from fundamentals, spring practice also allows coaches to analyze the heart and determination of the hard hitting players who desire to earn a starting spot in the fall.Â
Although Western parted ways with 13 seniors in 2007, expectations remain high in 2008. Such a task should be easy work for a team whose roster boasts an abundance of talent and leadership.
Leadership is an important factor for winning in any sport. Head coach Jerry Partridge has no worries and is confident in his teamâ€™s leadership abilities.
â€œWe have some good leaders back. Roger Allen is a leader who was a captain last year and Sylvester Gibson has stepped up to a leadership role. For the receiving core, Andrew Mead is a leadership type of kid, Thomas Hodges is a leader and our quarterbacks are leaders, Barron Bradshaw and Drew Newhart,â€ Partridge said.Â Â
A leader is someone who holds influence over others. It is a demanding job and holds many responsibilities. For two players on the team, Barron Bradshaw and Andrew Mead, being a leader comes naturally.
â€œAnytime you become a leader, itâ€™s a huge responsibility. Youâ€™re an important guy the team looks up to, especially in big play, big game situations. Being a leader means a lot, but all I can do is lead by example,â€ Bradshaw commented. Spring practice means high competitiveness among the players. To Mead, itâ€™s the perfect time to exhibit his leadership ability.
â€œEspecially in the springtime, I just want to go out and compete at the highest level and try to establish myself as someone the younger kids can look up to. Basically, Iâ€™m just trying to help our team get better,â€ Mead said.
This was the first of 15 practices at Spratt Stadium.Â Â