In setting the theme for his second football team at Hendrix College, head coach Buck Buchanan translated a Spanish proverb.
“The road to bye and bye leads to the house of never.”
The Latin version would be carpe diem (“seize the day”).
The Warriors, after compiling a 3-7 record last year with their first football team in 53 years, graduated one senior. Half of this year’s 80-man roster will be freshmen, and a team heavy on freshmen and sophomores will play those heavy with juniors and seniors.
“That’s the challenge,” Buchanan said Wednesday during a speaking appearance at the Conway Kiwanis Club. “There seems so many windows of opportunity in these players’ careers. It’s easy to get to thinking ‘I can always do this next year or I have plenty of time to get it done.’”
Buchanan then related how one of his best friends and biggest boosters when he coached at Louisiana College recently died suddenly. He had been meaning to visit him.
“Sometimes when you put things off, it’s too little, too late,” he said. “It’s a lesson in life I’m telling the players, ‘Don’t wait to get good.’”
He added, “We can use playing teams with a lot older players as an excuse. But why not beat them and have a great story to tell the grandkids?”
While he and his staff kept the roster small in the inaugural season, he and his staff have been working to make the program better.
“We’ll have competition for positions,” he said. “We’ll have some depth. We’ll be able to have real practices rather than glorified walk-throughs.
Greenbrier quarterback Seth Peters, one of the nation’s passing leaders before missing the second half of the season with a knee injury, is back and healthy. “And we’re bring four quarterbacks in for competition,” he said.
He added, “You could probably watch our game through our sideline last year; this year, we hope to block more people’s views.”
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)