New coach, but same basic philosophy at Daegu: win
CAMP WALKER, South Korea – Their coach of seven seasons, Ken Walter, departed after last school year for Rota, Spain - taking his four Far East Division II titles with him. So, too, did star running back DeMarco Andrews.
So, what can the Daegu Warriors, the defending two-time Far East D-II champions, do in the face of that?
Come back out and try to make it a three-peat, new coach Phillip Loyd and returning quarterback DeAndre Rosalie said.
“We still come out and expect to contend for championships,” Rosalie said. “Here in Daegu, that’s the expectation, to win championships, no matter who’s coaching or who’s playing.”
“Why be out here if we’re not contenders?” said Loyd, who last coached football at Wiggs Middle School in El Paso, Texas, but is used to chasing D-II titles in other sports, having won in boys and girls basketball for Daegu two seasons ago.
“I thought I’d seen the last of football,” Loyd said. “But this is a good school with good kids, and they don’t deserve to have the question asked: Who’s coaching football?”
But Loyd is also realistic enough to know what the program has lost in Walter and Andrews. Aside from the four championships and the two other D-II title-game appearances in Walter, Andrews took with him 1,363 yards and 20 touchdowns that helped the Warriors to the title a year ago.
“We lost a four-time champion coach and all the brain with it,” Loyd said. “No doubt, we lost a significant amount losing Walter, and it’s been awhile since I’ve coached football, but I have good assistants who are making it a lot easier.”
Loyd says the expectation for success hasn’t changed with the changing of the coaching guard, but that his charges aren’t reaching back to the past. “I’ve not heard once that this is how we used to do it,” Loyd said.
“There is a willingness to accept change. Naturally, things change” when a new coach comes aboard, Loyd said. “All we’re trying to do is make them better. They want to repeat. We want to repeat. So the whole goal is to make them better and to repeat.”
Many faces that helped boost Daegu to back-to-back titles are returning, Rosalie and much of the line on both sides of the ball included. There’s also some new talent that’s come aboard, among them junior Mitchell Champaco, a kicker, something that’s been a staple of Daegu football for years.
“He’s going to continue that,” Loyd said of Champaco, who’s fairly accurate from distance. “He can boot the ball.”
Daegu plans to continue Walter’s tradition of using a spread offense, “but we’ve made some changes,” Loyd said.
The Warriors begin the 2015 campaign with one of five home games they have scheduled, Friday against Seoul American with kickoff at 5:30 p.m. The fact that it’s not a D-II game “helps out a lot,” Loyd said.
“It’s hard to figure out who we are until we have a game,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the game to gauge where we are.”