Sebring looks for an improved season with coach Seidel

Sports

Seidel stressing a new mental approach to this season

Sebring, OHIO (WKBN) – The Sebring Trojans have long suffered some tough seasons on the football field.  They have not entertained a winning football season since 1992, and haven’t been close since 2014 when they finished 5-5 under Scott Springer.  But this year they have a new attitude.

Trojan alumnus Matt Seidel accepted the head coaching position last December and has been working hard at changing the attitude and work ethic of the Trojan players.  In the process, more players have come out for the team and have dedicated themselves to turning the program around.

The increase in numbers itself has breathed some new life in the program for the returning players, “It’s incredibly important because last year we would play the entire game, but no one would be able to get out and get some air, and be able to come back up to their full capabilities.  This year we have enough players to sub people in to get back in top shape,” senior lineman Donovan Seruch explained.

“This year we have a lot more guys than we had last year coming into the season, so that brings our team morale up a bit,” senior Quarterback Zane Peterson remarked.  “Last year trying to practice against virtually no one was a difficult situation, now this year with having over twenty guys we can practice both offense and defense against each other, getting that real in-game look.  That will help us improve from last year a lot more.”

Seidel was an assistant coach for Springer and Jay Brophy, and most recently coached the Trojans junior high program, so the players know him.  He is someone they feel comfortable with and they trust.

“I know with a lot of these kids I have a built-in trust factor,” Seidel said.  “They know me, they know what to expect from me.  They are still kind of feeling their way with some of the assistants because we have some new faces in.  But they are working hard every day in practice and I think they are starting to see that if they trust the process, it’s going to come together for them.”

“It’s nice knowing someone coming in from coaching (in junior-high),” Peterson explained.  “You feel a lot more comfortable with them.  So having him as our coach for our senior year is really exciting.”

But perhaps the most important thing for Seidel is to turn the mental part of the game around for the players and the program, “I tell you, it’s one-hundred percent mental.  It’s getting these kids to believe in themselves again.  If you go through what they have gone through in the past couple of years here, it’s easy to get down on yourself and believe what everybody outside the program is saying about you.”

“Last year definitely people would bring you down saying you did this wrong instead of picking people up and explain to them and help them.  This year we’re holding each other accountable, but we are doing it so that we can make sure we are fixing our mistakes,” Donovan remarked.

“We had to bring them in and show them that they are not all those things that everyone is saying about them,” Seidel continued.  “They are good kids, they are athletic kids, now it’s just a matter of the inches of football.  We’re talking about one-half second here, lining up in just the right shade instead of one gap over, and that’s the difference in making the play and being a second late.”

“We pretty consistently had seventeen guys in the weight room every day this year.  That’s probably double the number we have had in the last five, ten years.  The guys showed some excitement and put on some serious strength.  They have been working their tails off,” Seidel praised his players.

On the field this summer, Seidel has been working on the technique that the team utilizes, “Technique has been so key.  When we came in we started to look at some things with them.  We tore it all down to the simple things like the lineman’s stance.  We fixed three-point stances, and getting guys aligned the right way.  We talked to them about rules for each of our plays, offensive rules, defensive rules.  We tore it down to the basics.”

“I even pulled a Lou Holtz and walked in and held the ball up and said, ‘Gentlemen, this is a football’.  They got a kick out of it and it kind of brought them together a bit.  We had a good time with it,” Seidel said with a chuckle.

“We communicate a lot, we are talking to each other constantly,” Donovan said about the on-field changes they have made.  “We are all making sure we all know what we need to do.”

“We are definitely way more advanced from last year,” Donovan stated.  “Last year we would just go with the flow, we were not putting in the work to be a good team, but this year we are putting in the work to be the best that we can be.”

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