Castner revamps football program

Team will rely on a foundation of four fundamental principles…

Ian Howard | Staff Writer

The restructuring of Mason’s Varsity Football team goes far beyond writing a new playbook, according to Varsity Football Head Coach, Brian Castner.

“You’ve got to create a culture [that understands] the coach’s beliefs and the whole Mason football philosophy.” Castner said.

Enlisting the help of a coaching staff to assist him in implementing this culture is one of Castner’s top priorities. Returning to the coaching staff after taking a year off from his coaching at Mason will be former University of Michigan stand out Paul Berry who will coach the offensive line. Another former coach returning to the mix will be Casey Popplewell who will also coach the offensive line.

“Coach Castner’s my friend,” Popplewell said. “When he got the job he asked me if I wanted to coach again. . . . we believe in the same things, [so] I decided to do it again.”

Based on the experience of the coaches, Castner said he is confident about the ability of his staff.

“We’ve got a lot of great people, a lot of great coaches,” Castner said.

As far as the performance of the team, Castner said it will be greatly dependent on the attitude and ability of the seniors.

“It’s going to rely a lot on how much the up and coming senior class want to take on their shoulders and say, ‘This is our team,’” Castner said.

But the greatness of the senior class goes far beyond an increase in the ability of the team. According to Castner, it acts as an essence of the seniors’ livelihood.

“The seniors need to take ownership as far as their demeanor, as far as the way they represent Mason High School,” Castner said. “This is their year; this is their 2010 season. They’re only guaranteed 10 games: they’re only guaranteed so many practices. What they want to do with it is up to them.”

In carving Mason seniors’ triumphs, Castner said he is only looking to the future of the program.

“I don’t really care much about the past,” Castner said. “I am going to prepare what we can do as far as today and what we’re going to prepare for this upcoming season.”

Castner said that his major goal as a coach is to revolutionize the way players think about football.

“We’re going to try to build a football family and get everybody on the same page and create that atmosphere that kids want to be around all of the time, and I think we’re doing that right now,” Castner said.

According to Castner he has been impressed with the high number of players committing to the off season weight room work-outs on Monday, Wednesday’s and Friday’s. Despite evidence of the commitment of the team, Castner said that the true test will start at the beginning of the season.

“I’m not going to say we’re better than the team before us or the people that came before us, just because we really won’t know that until we put the product on the field August 27,” Castner said.

Castner said this also applies to the betterment of the team compared to other teams in the upcoming season.

“I don’t really compare us to [other teams]: I compare us to ourselves from day to day,” Castner said.

This attitude will be regulated by a new football-family culture and a set list of priorities, according to Castner.

“We have the big four as far as faith, family, academics and football, and that’s our priority list and that’s what we’re going to rely on,” Castner said.

Castner said that the big four expands to mean far more than just a list.

“We’re going to do a lot of team activities and stuff as a family, and we’re going to create that culture that we’re looking out for each other,” Castner said. “We’re going to take care of each other.”

To motivate the team and the seniors especially, Castner said he uses routine question asking to enforce team pride.

“There [are] three questions that I ask them almost every day: Are you giving great effort? Can I trust in you? And are you committed?” Castner said.

According to Castner, the number one thing he can count on is how the team spends its time weight lifting and training.

“We’re going to do what we do,” Castner said. “We’re going to do it at a high level of intensity, have a lot of energy going around the room and around the field.”

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