SHINER - Speed, size and experience are what the Shiner Comanches are counting on this season, especially in the defensive front.
Shiner defensive end Collin OíConnor, left, works out with a teammate during Thursdayís practice. OíConnor is part of a defensive line that is expected to be a big part of Shinerís success this season. photos by Paul Ebner, Victoria Advocate
Dalton Handley and Collin OíConnor return to anchor the defensive front along with help from Daniel Doran and and Justin Weise.
"This could be a group that could be dominant if they come to play," defensive line coach Wendell Boner said. "Theyíve been there and have the athletic ability to really dominate a game."
All four know the importance of a strong defense having helped the Comanches to back-to-back quarterfinal playoff appearances.
"We definitely have the potential to shut out a lot of teams," OíConnor said. "Our whole line is a lot faster. Weíre big and fast, itís not one or the other and thatís going to play a big deal in how we can dominate this year."
The Shiner front will definitely have the quickness to cause a havoc in the backfield for a lot of teams with all four clocking in at 5.1 or better in the 40.
"OíConnor runs track and even though heís 240 pounds, he runs a legitimate 5-flat," Boner said. "Duran, who is one of our kids thatís coming on and didnít play a lot last year, is a 4.7 at defensive end and Weise is a 4.9, so youíre talking true speed at the defensive line. Then Handley is 250 pounds and runs like a 5.1 and Kody Boedeker, who is moving to linebacker, is like 5-flat or 4.9."
The quickness is something Handley thinks will give the Comanches an opportunity to return to the state title game like in 2004 when the Comanches won it all.
Shiner defensive coordinator Billy Turek, right-center, runs players through drills during practice on Thursday.
"We do a lot of stunting and getting into the backfield has always been one of our priorities in disrupting plays before they have a chance to develop and it always helps when you have a lot of speed to do that."
Coaching is another aspect where Handley feels the Comanches will benefit.
"I give a lot of respect to our coaches, especially coach (Billy) Turek," Handley said. "He knows what heís doing and if he tells me something Iím going to listen to him and try to correct it. And I have enough respect that if he tells someone else something and they donít do it, Iím going to let them know they need to listen to him. He knows a little bit more about it than anyone else out here."
But Boner is cautious should the Comanches suffer injuries.
"We have depth, but truefully these guys are very tough and it would be a little step down there," said Boner on having to replace anyone on the front line. "These guys are all players."
Paul Ebner is the assistant sports editor for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6507 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.