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GCC looks to win right way

Football: Vaqueros come into this season hoping more discipline and preparation mean more wins.

August 31, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk,
  • GCC head football coach John Rome talks defense with the defensive line at football practice at Glendale Community College on Thursday, August 25, 2011. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
GCC head football coach John Rome talks defense with the…

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — As the losses piled up week after grueling week during the ill-fated 2010 season, the Glendale Community College football team's frustration mounted.

Over the course of the spring and summer, the returners from last year's 1-9 squad converted that frustration into motivation to work harder and become stronger and more cohesive in the big picture, while mastering the little things that could mean the difference between winning and losing when the squad opens the book on the 2011 season at Pasadena City College at 6 p.m. Saturday.

"It's amazing how much we've matured over a year," sophomore defensive end Danny Cruz, a Hoover High graduate, said. "Just everything in general, our defense, our leadership. It all started in the weight room last spring and winter, everybody showing up on time, being here giving it their 100% and you can tell the difference right now on the field."


Injuries, and at times just plain subpar play on the field, played a hand in the Vaqueros' going winless until the final week of the season last year and finishing 1-5 in the Pacific Conference's American Division. But third-year Coach John Rome said conflicting agendas within the team and too many allowances made for players and coaches were a major downfall.

"We are going to do the right things this season," Rome said. "Win or lose."

It's an attitude the players have embraced, knowing that several of last year's closest losses — each of the team's five losses to open conference play were by a touchdown or less — came down to avoidable mistakes or lack of preparedness.

"One of the things that we made a point of emphasis was to do things right," said Sam Campbell, a sophomore right tackle out of Crescenta Valley High. "If we do the small things, then success follows really big."

The biggest change on tap is the defensive realignment that will see the Vaqueros switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Tony DiThomas in an effort to shore up the unit that ranked 29th in Southern California in total defense while giving up an average of 33.4 points per game last year.

"We were a three-man front, now we're a four-man front," Rome said. "We're primarily a multiple-scheme defense, much more zone oriented."

The defensive line features four returners in ends Cruz and Milan Biggers, tackle Chris Schmidt and nose tackle Ivan Abarenov out of Hoover.

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