Amy Weaver observed last week the Hendrix football equivalent of Boy Scouts helping the elderly lady across the street.
It spoke volumes to her about the players coach Buck Buchanan has recruited for the first team since 1960.
A woman’s car stalled in the roundabout in front of the Wellness and Athletic Center just as the Hendrix players were crossing the street heading to the heart of campus after a practice.
“Within minutes, I saw the whole football team helping push that car into the WAC parking lot,” said Weaver, Hendrix’s athletic director.
“On move-in day, I saw football players carrying couches, refrigerators, televisions and all kinds of boxes into dorm rooms,” she said. “They had already moved in and this was after Wednesday’s practice.”
“I’ll bet more of them were helping the women than men.” quipped Buchanan.
Hendrix does have more females than males. To achieve a better balance is one reason football is being revived.
The coeds certainly appreciate the extra muscle.
“We’ve definitely increased the size on campus,” said Buchanan.
Buchanan gave Hendrix football players of the past an update on the first Hendrix football team in 53 years at an Ole Warrior luncheon. Adaptability is the theme.
“We know we have to break a few eggs to make an omelet,” he said. “Our job is to get these guys better every day. How that translates to wins and losses, I don’t know. But we will after about four years if we do it right. The good things is we get the chance to establish the culture as we want it and we haven’t had to overcome a lot of bad habits yet.
“Our biggest job is getting our guys (46 freshman on a 56-player roster) to play all the time at the speed of the game they need to play at. The speed and playing that way in the fourth quarter are the biggest things they have to get used to. That extra 12 minutes a game (15-minute quarters instead of 12) will make a man out of somebody.”
Always ready with the quip, Buchanan said he doesn’t see a huge size disadvantage with the Warriors and their opponents.
“All our outside receivers are 6-0 or taller,” he said. “And one is 6-5 and he had a 35 ACT score. And the good thing is he doesn’t think about it before he goes up and catches the ball.”
He has been pleased with the development and leadershiop of quarterback Seth Peters of Greenbrier and defensive backs Jake Steward of Vilonia and Reid Cone of Greenbrier.
“Both of our freshman quarterbacks have the ability to make things happen beyond the original parameters,” Buchanan said. “We haven’t had to teach either of them how to play quarterback. Seth was coached well in fundamentals in high school and he was just a quarterback one year. We don’t have to spend 30 minutes everday fixing things. And it’s a lot easier to coach receivers when they know the ball is gonna be there.”
As far as they schedule, Buchanan said his is focused solely on the first game on Sept. 7 against Westminster.
“Our entire focus is on firsts ... first practice, first game, first positive play, first defensive stand, first win,” he said. “In four years, it will be the last time some of the guys go to the first day of practice.
“If we start looking entirely at who will play, we will not be very good.”
He said he has had to make an adjustment for his young players.
“I made a reference to Walter Payton in a team meeting one day and the players stared at me like a cat at a new gate,” he said. “I had to tell them who Walter Payton was. Last week, Keith Jackson (former Oklahoma All-American and Green Bay Packer star) spoke to our team and I told our players before he spoke to Google him. They came back telling me, ‘Hey coach, he was really good.’ I told them yeh, I know.”
One of the Hendrix players noted that Hendrix had something in common with the Arkansas Razorbacks.
“We both have new coaches with the same initials (BB) and who have a flat top,”
“But I may go bald quicker,” said Buchanan.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 5050-1235 or email@example.com)