Football… It’s the real deal, and it is here. Head Coach Mark Hendrickson is more than ready for this season, as are the rest of the staff and players. I spoke with Coach Hendrickson about the upcoming game Thursday, August 30th, as well as his main focuses and goals.
It is the 109th season for Leatherneck football, and Coach Hendrickson expressed a lot of excitement. “I am very proud that this is my fourteenth year out of those one-hundred-and-nine. I am very excited to be a part of the 2012 team,” he said. Hendrickson continued to explain the entire staff feels very excited, and the players are feeling this way about their teammates. Camaraderie certainly is a strong suit found within the Leathernecks and it is key when it comes to playing good football.
Coach Hendrickson explained the team will have held twenty-nine practices before the big game on August 30th, and the coaches and players are very excited to see what the players can do for themselves.
“The players are full of enthusiasm and excitement, and a little anxiety. We ease [into] it as a staff; we’ve got a good routine for the new players. A few freshmen will be playing for the first time,” he said.
Hendrickson says routine is crucial when preparing for the big game. He explained that Thursday night will feel like a Friday; the day before the big game. The night before the game, the team has a dinner, a team meeting with traveling varsity, and the offense and defense meet up individually. “Same thing before the game,” he said, “Routine [helps] people if they are anxious; it makes them feel good about what’s about to happen.”
I asked Coach Hendrickson about what he is focusing on specifically this season for the Leathernecks. He responded, “We’re focusing on fundamentals. It sounds simple, but it’s always a challenge. We want to be perfect concerning the fundamentals of the game; all the staff and players feel the same way. We don’t have to concentrate on fancy schemes, whether it is offense or defense during the game, or worry about elaborate plays…You want who can tackle the best, who can hang on to the football the longest… We must do fundamentals to the best of our ability.”
Coach Hendrickson has a great philosophy when it comes to playing football, and his experience definitely shines through. He told me that it’s best to focus on yourself, and to take things one day at a time. When it comes to expectations during the first football game he said, “When you play game one, you focus on yourself; you want to see how well you can play the game of football.”
Overall for this season, Hendrickson says his goal is to take things one day at a time. “We find things we can improve in; we go out and walk through the plays. We will continue up until kickoff to prepare the team to the best of our abilities as a staff [and] to make corrections to the player.”
After talking with the coach, I definitely felt Leatherneck pride and supreme confidence about this upcoming season. Let’s go kick some tail, Western!