“From December through May, we had the guys coming into the weight room and doing workouts at 6 a.m. That shows me they want to do well and be a part of the team.”
That team will be a Tornadoes squad looking to snap a 20-game losing streak, dating back to 2006. It will be a Tornadoes team looking for its first winning season since 1987.
No question, there’s plenty of work ahead. Hoover begins its season at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 with a nonleague home game against Sierra Vista at Glendale High’s Moyse Field.
“We can’t wait to get started,” said Long, whose team will also participate in nonleague games against South Pasadena and San Marino before starting Pacific League competition at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 against Pasadena at Pasadena City College. “We expect big improvements and to always be able to compete.
“I don’t want to say how many wins and losses we are going to have. I think we can shock some people.”
For that to happen, the Tornadoes will have to improve on both sides of the ball. Hoover scored only 74 points and yielded a whopping 500, giving up at least 29 points per game in 2008.
Finding a group that can show vast improvement will be the key for Long, who will likely field a 36-member squad.
“We want to have a team that can do a better job at tackling and providing more offense,” said Long, whose team couldn’t practice outside for several days because of the poor air quality stemming from the recent local fires. “We had trouble tackling last year, and we are planning to run a spread offense with no huddle.
“We’ve worked a lot on the sleds, so hopefully it will pay off. On defense, we want to be able to get off the blocks and move the space. We will find out soon if we’ve solved both of those things.”