The Huddle: Leading while losing

Coppell (Texas) enjoyed a strong 2010 but struggled to stay healthy this season. Team leader David Busby stayed positive despite the disappointment. Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com

The huddle is a sacred place in football, one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on the POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success.

Senior cornerback and safety David Busby of Coppell (Coppell, Texas) explains how he found the positives in the course of a disappointing season. The 6-foot, 180-pounder carries a weighted grade point average over 4.0 and he’s considering an engineering degree in college. Busby has scholarship offers from North Texas, Utah State and Wyoming, as well as considerations from Air Force and Navy.

After a breakout junior campaign in which he had 85 tackles, seven interceptions and 14 pass breakups on a 13-1 team that made it to the state quarterfinals, Busby had high hopes for an even better senior season.

But the Cowboys struggled to a 6-4 season, losing their starting quarterback to injury in the sixth game and their backup shortly after. As a team leader on and off the field, Busby, who finished with 70 tackles and six picks, had to fight past the disappointing results and find value in the season.

Long before his senior season had ended with a 28-7 loss to Keller Central (Fort Worth, Texas), Busby looked inward for confidence and direction.

"I honestly had to just look ahead and try to do what's best for my team and not worry so much about all of the pressure and the attention that might be on me," said Busby. "I tried to deal with my team first and just try to perform and I just figured that all of the other stuff will come along. I tried to focus on my leadership skills and finishing strong. That was our main emphasis -- finishing strong and never giving up."

Busby became conscious of the fact that he was a role model being watched by younger players, such as rising junior safety Jacob Logan, who will be a senior team captain next year.

“Jacob's dealing with the same things that I did,” said Busby. “Starting as a sophomore and adjusting to the atmosphere. Next, he's going to be a team captain his senior year and he has to lead them and try to lift them up. I had to watch the way that I acted around Jacob and always tried to have a positive attitude because if I would have had a negative attitude then he would have definitely had a negative attitude and that would have carried on throughout the team."

In the end, the difficult season was a rewarding experience for Busby.

"I learned how to become a better vocal leader, to lead with my actions, and learned how to lift up our team even though we were going through tough times and to try to take the team through adversity," he said.

ROLE MODEL: James Busby, father "Teaching me that life isn't always fair, and that you have to deal with the cards that you are dealt."