Hammer Time: More Insight from Coach Ron Lee

RSN continues talking story with Warrior receivers' coach Ron Lee....

What the receivers and QB do in this offense is beyond what the layman sees at Aloha Stadium on a Saturday night……..Work, work and more work until running, reading defensive coverage, catching and then running with the ball after the catch become second nature……Plus, the receivers need to work and learn with the QB until the relationship between them is second nature……"At the end of last season Rolo and the receivers were on the same page…..they just knew when and where the ball would be…….Rolo would throw the ball to a spot before the receiver was there and then the receiver would be there to catch the pass……last year's group was really a veteran group……….they were confident in what they did and knew what they were doing…..that's where this year's group of receivers need to be."

"Speed and pure talent doesn't mean a whole lot until the receiver is confident doing what he is doing…..a 4.6 receiver who doesn't have confidence in what he is doing and is always thinking is really a 5.0 receiver….a 4.4 receiver who isn't confident in what he does is really a 4.6….lack of confidence will really affect what he does and how he does it………A receiver becomes a fast receiver when he gains that confidence and is comfortable with the things he has to do…….he knows where the defender is without having to think …..that's why the sports commentators said last year's players were so fast……..the years of work for last year's group paid off…..they were a veteran group that just knew what they were doing….plus, they had the physical speed……that combination resulted in players who played very fast."

I bring up a name from the past, Attrice Brooks……"Coach, Attrice Brooks was such a talent." As coach started talking about Attrice, I saw his face light up. Coach talked about Brooks just like a father. "Attrice was such a talent, so gifted…..just loved that kid….he was a real nice kid, a real good kid, but, something didn't work out…….couldn't get him to really learn our system….Attrice was a real street wise kid…….when we got him into games we purposely put him on June's side so June could tell him what to do." "Coach, he was such a talent…..it was amazing…..seven catches, three or four going for touchdowns." Attrice was the perfect example of what coach Lee was talking about. With his pure talent alone he had limited success. If Attrice was able to learn the system I have no doubt that he could have been a first round NFL draft choice just like Ashley Lelie. Ashley in contrast to Attrice was the mirror image of what coach Lee was talking about. Ashley had the talent, but, in addition to that worked very hard and learned the system well. For Ashley and for Attrice the rest is history.

"Coach, what about all those drops the receiving corp experienced a while back?" "For our receivers it's a matter of confidence…..they have to know what they're doing without having to think too much……..being unsure and thinking too much about where the defender was going to be were reasons for the more than usual dropped passes." "So coach, in this offense it's much more than just calling a play like ten yards and then button hook." "It's much more than that…..we call plays, the receivers have to see what look the defense is giving, and the defenders gives false looks all the time…..then the receivers run their routes….the receivers have to know where the defender is all the time and get open." "Sounds like a lot to think about." "Lot more than just run and catch…..anybody can do that.....receivers need to study film, work at reading coverage and the system and do it at full speed……hey Lopaka."

Lopaka Ornellas the Warrior Video Coordinator walked past Coach Lee's office. Film has become such an important part of today's preparation. As I spoke to Coach Lee and coach Singletary I saw videos all over their offices. How things are put on film, the breaking down of plays is so critical in preparing the team for the week to week battles. Lopaka's film work is excellent, so excellent that NFL people have commented very favorably about his work.

Lopaka, a relative of Gerald Welch and George Ornellas, was a former walk-on at wide receiver for the Warriors. As fate would have it, Lopaka suffered a career ending injury. Lopaka was not the most gifted receiver, but, worked hard. Although his football playing days were over, Lopaka still had that love for football. He was asked by someone on the football staff if he would be interested in helping Warrior football film practice, break down film, prepare for upcoming games, etc. Lopaka found his place in the Warrior team and contributes in a big way to those on the field. Lopaka Ornellas, one of the many unsung Warrior heroes.

Coach Singletary popped his head in….."Hey, howzit."……..Coach Singletary points to Coach Ron, looks at me and says, "That man….that man knows sooooo much!"……..As coach Vantz left, I remembered that at St. Louis High School coach Lee was the offensive coordinator, the brains behind the vaunted Crusaders' version of the Run and Shoot that for years had decimated opponent after opponent…….No wonder coach Lee had so much knowledge of and passion for the Run and Shoot offense.

A full hour had passed. What coach Lee said made sense. I compare what coach Lee said to learning how to type. .I remembered how it was so awkward when I first placed my two hands on the typewriter keys. The position of the alphabets on the typewriter made no sense at all. After repeating the keystrokes over and over it slowly became second nature. Once it became second nature the confidence came and it became so much easier that I didn't even have to look at the keyboard. Watching football practice and the receivers run their routes over and over again now made a whole lot of sense.

Coach Lee continued, "Just a short time before the season starts…..it's going to be a challenging season ahead…….with five games on the road it's going to be tough…..we have some young but very talented players who want to play and just need game experience……I'm really looking forward to it………just gotta get them ready……the talent level has been raised here……..we've got the talent, just gotta get them working together."

Big mahalo coach Lee……I continue to be impressed by this group of coaches assembled by June…..Man, can't wait for those hot summer days of .Fall camp in the Quarry.

Up next……..Airing the ball out…..

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