||Last Updated: Feb 4, 2015 - 12:35:55 PM
As Taylor Breitzman stepped onto the field for the first time as College of the Redwoods head football coach, he walked between two lines of players going through stretching drills. The Corsairs' new coach's words could be heard loud and clear.
"Juice. Energy. Fun. Nobody else gets to do this," he shouted.
Moments later, he had another short message for his players.
"Effort. That's all we're asking for."
Those two simple statements at the Corsairs' first practice of preseason camp on Thursday were the summation of what Breitzman hopes to convey to his players. It's also what Breitzman brings to the table as he gets the chance to be the No. 1 guy for the first time in his collegiate coaching career.
"We're ready to rock and roll," Breitzman said. "We'll see soon enough about what we have, but the energy in the building right now is there."
That's the tone the Corsairs' young head coach wants to make a mainstay.
Breitzman, who served as Redwoods' defensive coordinator last season after a two-year stint on the Central Washington University coaching staff following his playing career with the Wildcats, was named head coach on June 10 when he took over for Chris Vicory. He has also been the head coach of the Prague Black Panthers in the Czech Republic for the past two summers.
It's the second time in as many years that CR has hired its head football coach during the summer. But, unlike 12 months ago when Breitzman was part of Vicory's almost completely new staff, the handful of returners from last season's 3-7 squad and many of the recruits are already familiar with their new head coach.
Breitzman said many of the recruits who committed to CR when Vicory was head coach have stayed true to their commitments and are in camp. He also said Thursday that he's added a number of players to the original recruiting class following his appointment as head coach.
While the defensive-minded Breitzman feels that having some sort of continuity from one season to the next can help his team, he also wants to put his own stamp on Redwoods.
"It's an exciting time around here. Chris was an amazing coach here, and he did a tremendous job — the record may not show it, but that's not always the case," Breitzman said. "It's a whole new season, a whole new deal. We're just trying to take the success we had from last year and just carry it over, but also build it in from a program with a new head coach."
With energy and effort being the mantra for Thursday's opening practice, Breitzman also made it clear there are plenty of jobs open.
"You can't go 3-7 and expect to walk right into a starting job," Breitzman said.
Translation: Competition will be pretty much wide open over the next three weeks leading up to Redwoods' season opener on the road at Monterey Peninsula College on Sept. 6.
"I would say so. I think it's wide open — and that's what you want," Breitzman said. "If you even look back when I was a player, that's what made me successful was because of that competition level that pushes you. Sometimes last year in some spots, we weren't able to have that, so guys get some complacency and get relaxed. And that's not what you want on a football team."
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