Speed and depth are two words which describe this year’s edition of the Central Alberta Buccaneers senior men’s football team according to the head coach.
“Last year we were two deep, this year we’re five or six deep at those positions,” said Duane Brown, into his second year at the helm. “So you’re going to see a more up-tempo game from us than you’ve seen in the last few years.”
Brown pointed out the Bucs led the Alberta Football League in rushing the last couple of years but he says this year’s edition is looking to add the passing title to the resume.
“We want to be a little more two dimensional. We want to make teams really think about what we’re going to do before they line up against us,” he said.
One of the things opposing defences might not have to deal with is all-star running back Kenton Poelzer. He is expected to take more reps at the safety position after taking what Coach Brown described as “a little more punishment than he should have.”
Poelzer says from his point of view he’s happy to have the chance to play some safety and be the hammer rather than the nail.
“I did take a pounding last year but it was still fun,” he said. “But I am excited to do some of the hitting myself.”
Also tightening up some of the secondary coverage this year will be former high school standout Mark Fay.
Brown says the Lindsay Thurber product will see some time at corner and he’s very impressed with how the rookie has made the transition from playing against teenagers to playing against men.
“He’s walked in and learned he can hold his own with these guys,” Brown explained, adding that Fay will practice against some of the best receivers in the league – his team mates.
Leading that contingent will be veterans Jamie Blinkhorn, Marc Bartolf and Josh Sorensen. They will be complemented by a pair of newcomers in Curtis Williams and Marc Glasgow.
Williams played some ball down in Arizona and can fly down the field, says Brown.
Glasgow is a Hunting Hills grad and recently played with the Edmonton Wildcats in the junior ranks.
Getting the ball to those receivers will be the task handed to last year’s AFL rookie Byron Stearns. The second year pivot should feel even more comfortable behind centre this year. “A phenomenal debut for him last year and we’re looking for him to build on that,” said Brown.
He might have to scramble a bit though as the offensive line which opened big holes last year has two big ones to fill this year.
All stars Sean O’Donnell and Steve Pearce will not be suiting up this year with O’Donnell taking over as the offensive coordinator instead.
Brown remains optimistic that an o-line will come together in some form and he has set the bar high based on what he described as a good taste last season of what this team can accomplish. “Our goal is to host all of our playoff games,” he stated. “We don’t want to travel at the end of the regular season, we want to be able to play here and win in front of our fans.”
The Bucs beat the Calgary gators 27-20 in an exhibition game last Saturday. They open on the road June 2nd in Lloydminster and then play at home against the Calgary Wolfpack on June 9.