BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Class is in session in room 120.
Bridgewater-Raynham head coach Dan Buron is at the front of the classroom, pointing at the projector screen. The film shown is from the Trojans’ first scrimmage of the season, which was Saturday at Xaverian. He draws circles with his index finger around a couple of players in the defensive backfield who weren’t showing proper technique.
“There’s one, two … three guys who don’t look like they’re ready to play.”
The next sequence of plays rolls across the screen.
“Look how he sheds that block here,” Buron says with enthusiasm. “Nice job.”
During the next offensive series.
“You linemen can’t be spectators on this play. You can’t be standing around.”
There’s plenty of bad things and plenty of good things that came up during the film breakdown session.
It’s early still, but Buron and his players know which elements need to improve in order for the No. 20 Trojans to repeat as Old Colony League champions.
“At this point, we can get better at everything,” senior co-captain Mike Chicoine said. “There’s a long way to go. There are a lot of things we can improve on. We can play better on offense. We can play better on defense.”
Buron is the type of coach who wouldn’t even hint at it, even if he knew for certain he had a Super Bowl-caliber squad on his hands. He’d be more likely to ramble off areas for improvement by case and point. His quest is to get the most out of his players and see them achieve their truest potential.
“We rely on our seniors every year and a lot of this year’s seniors don’t have a lot of experience out there,” Buron said after Wednesday’s film session. “Last year’s seniors were talented, but they also worked very, very hard. They did all of the little things right, which I know these guys can do as well. It just comes down to the willingness to work hard and not taking anything for granted.”
Having a short memory comes with the territory, so last year’s visit to the Eastern Mass. Division IA Super Bowl is past.
Senior co-captain Mike Devin knows that every year a team takes on a complexion of its own. This year, Devin returns as the most experienced Trojan lineman, so he’s taken upon the task of bringing along his younger teammates.
“We have a young team of linemen, so you have to teach them all the small things before you can get going,” Devin said.
“Really, it comes down to hard work. We’re at point where we’re looking at the little things, like positioning and flying to the football as a team. Really, it all comes down to effort. I know we can, but we just have to prove we can do those things.”
Inside the cramped classroom, it was getting warmer. Buron finished going over his notes from the previous scrimmage before moving onto instructions for B-R’s next test. He ran over last-minute details and diagrammed a new play the Trojans would incorporate at practice. He left them with a series of questions to which the players replied in unison: “Yes, sir.” They filed out of the room to get ready for practice.
This year’s success will be measured on how well the B-R players heed the lessons given to them on this late-summer day.
“I want to win the OCL,” Chicoine said. “Flat out.
“We’ve got some work to do.”
BRIDGEWATER-RAYNHAM AT A GLANCE
2009: 10-3 (3-1 Old Colony), lost in Division IA Super Bowl
Coach: Dan Buron (18th year, 132-49-2)
Players to watch: Mike Chicoine, Sr., FB/LB, 6-1, 185 lbs.; Mike Devin, Sr., OL/DL, 6-3, 250 lbs.; Cody Wood, Sr., RB/LB, 5-11, 170 lbs.; Billy Zolga, Sr., QB/DB, 6-3, 185 lbs.; Nick Schlatz, Jr., RB/LB, 6-1, 180 lbs.; Tyler Martin, Sr., OL/DL, 5-10, 200 lbs.
Strengths: Depth at running back.
Weaknesses: Lack of experience in secondary, offensive and defensive lines.
Outlook: The Trojans will win by the running game and opening up opportunities to pass off of play-action. With senior Cody Wood and juniors Nick Schlatz, Branden Morin and Eric Wabrek to carry the ball the Trojans have plenty of options. It looks like Billy Zolga could have the inside track at quarterback, but Buron would like to find ways to get athletic backup Brad Deiulis on the field. The questions are on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the secondary where only Zolga and Brett Stewart of this year’s bunch saw playing time in 2009. “We had four terrific guys in the secondary last year, who were kind of the unsung heroes of our team,” Buron said. “They played smart, didn’t give up any big plays. That’s the big mystery right now, how we’re going to replace them.” Devin will anchor the D-line, where junior Mike Gillis and senior Marc McDonald could be poised for breakout seasons.