There’s a new captain at the helm of the Central Alberta Buccaneers for the 2015 season.
Former Buc defensive back Devon Hand has taken over the wheel from Duane Brown after spending the last couple of years as the defensive coordinator for the Bucs.
He says he will draw from some of his head coaches he’s played for or worked with over the years like Jay Heatherington, current Lindsay Thurber coach Dave Smith, University of Manitoba Bison coach Brian Dobie and former Bucs coach Brown.
“I’ve been very fortunate that during my 20-plus years as a player and 10-plus years as a coach to have been surrounded by exceptional leaders, exceptional men and just magnificent coaches,” he said.
He’s in the process of building a coaching staff with the next stop of forming a blueprint for success, starting with what he calls target-focused, three-phase football.
“Our practices are going to be a lot more structured and regimented than have been in the past,” he said. “Everyone is going to have a job from the assistant coach, the back ups to the third string quarterback who sometimes comes to practice and thinks his job is to warm up and then watch.”
With only two practices a week it’s tough to get consistent turnouts on those nights in a working man’s league but Hand says he’s looking to making players accountable to their teammates.
Over the last two years the Bucs have had an identity based on an absolutely tenacious defense and an offense which could put some points on the board but not consistently.
He says the only way to win the AFL title and move into the national final against Ontario is to play lights out football in all three phases of the game.
He hopes to improve on both sides of the ball but also be an aggressive force when it comes to special teams.
“I think sometimes in the AFL special teams get neglected a bit and it kind of gets put to the wayside.”
The on-field product he envisions will be a combination of pressure-filled, chaos-inducing defense, lights out super aggressive special teams and a nasty, hit-you-in-the mouth type of offensive line, he said.
But the key to all this in this league boils down to one philosophy.
“My goal is to implement a culture of commitment and accountability and I’ll live and die on that statement. That’s the only way we’re going to win the big games.”