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A whole lot of new for Hoover football

Football: Coach Matt Andersen brings a fresh outlook to a group full of fresh faces.

June 22, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • New Hoover High football Coach Matt Anderson takes a look at his team during a spring practice that's really served as a tryout.
New Hoover High football Coach Matt Anderson takes a look… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

GLENDALE — Sprawled across brand new field turf was a Hoover High football team that was very much brand new itself.

Hardly your average spring practices, first-year Tornadoes Coach Matt Andersen held tryouts as much as he did spring ball.

“It is a tryout,” said the 27-year-old Andersen, who ran varsity spring workouts at Hoover from June 5 through June 14, on the Thursday before practices concluded. “This week has just been let’s see who can move around. Let’s just get them out there doing drills, flying around.”

Flying around was an accurate description, as Andersen ran a high-tempo, energetic practice that was more about running and catching and passing and finding out about the athletes he had and where they could potentially play. There were no schemes introduced really, as Andersen and his Tornadoes were truly just introducing themselves.

“I’m getting there,” Andersen joked about getting to know all the players. “I got a yearbook, so I’ll put names to faces pretty soon.”

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Andersen was hired on to lead Hoover in late-May, filling the vacancy left by Andrew Policky, who departed after two seasons to his alma mater Arcadia. Andersen takes over a program that went 3-7 a season ago and 1-6 in the Pacific League, which was one of the program’s more successful seasons in years. And, in terms of taking over a program with a losing history, he also filled a vacancy left by Policky that came just as most teams were starting spring ball.

Andersen has no reservations that a difficult task lies ahead, but seemed thoroughly undaunted. For one, he’s quick to profess that turning the program around is not something that will be done quickly, certainly not in one spring. And, perhaps more than anything, Andersen is quick to admit he is right where he wants to be.

“It’s kinda what I expected,” Andersen said. “I knew it was gonna be a lot of hard work. It’s so much more than Xs and Os.

“We are building. I think we can win. But again, it’s a process. It can’t happen overnight.”

A standout running back at Occidental College, Andersen, whose grandfather was a football coach, began coaching at his alma mater in 2008 as an assistant. He also coached flag football at Toll Middle School, where he teaches. But leading the Tornadoes is his first head coaching job.

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