Updated Wed, Nov 27, 2013 8:14 pm
Coming off a 17-5 season, head coach Howie Caldwell and the Federal Hocking Lancers are looking to repeat as TVC-Hocking Champions.
Despite graduating seven seniors, Coach Caldwell has confidence in the underclassmen that are set to fill the vacated spots.
“We have experience this year,” said Caldwell. “It is one of the first times I have had players with three years of varsity experience and the one thing I have learned in my years is that you cannot teach experience.”
Senior guard Cliff Bonner said that this year’s squad has the potential to be as good as last season’s conference championship team.
“We have a lot of seniors and we have played together all summer,” said Bonner. “I think we will be as good as we were last year and be able to make up for the seniors that we lost.”
To compensate for fielding a smaller squad, Fed Hock will have to play a more uptempo offense to put points on the board. To adjust to the faster style of play, conditioning has been a key element of offseason practices.
“We are definitely going to be a run-and-gun team this season,” said senior guard Pete Crum. “It is going to be tough to play offense this year…If we aren’t in shape, we won’t be a very good team; that is just how it is going to be.”
Getting back into basketball shape has been a rigorous, but extremely necessary process.
“We aren’t there right now, but we definitely will be,” Crum continued. “There is never one specific point when you know you’re in shape. I’ve always been told, if you play 48 minutes as hard as you can, you are going to be tired anyway, despite if you are in shape or not.”
Caldwell has been pushing to condition his team not only physically, but mentally as well. His enthusiastic demeanor during practices are meant to prepare players for game day pressure.
“We love Coach and his enthusiasm,” said Bonner. “A lot of people from the outside think he is a yeller, but we all love him and we feed off his energy.”
Crum said that Caldwell’s presence is just the boost the team needs.
“During the games, his enthusiasm and his energy really makes us play harder,” said Crum. “I’m not going to lie, sometimes it makes me pretty mad, but it also makes me play a lot harder.”
Caldwell admitted that his team has limitations, but that it is a matter of highlighting the team’s talents.
“We won’t be able to pound it inside on a lot of people so we will have to beat them with our quickness,” said Caldwell.
The Lancers open their season on Nov. 29 against Nelsonville-York