The Leaders of the 'Cats

You read a lot about leadership and team leaders, and you'd be hard pressed to have a successful athletic team without a couple of players who provide that extra spark.<br><br> This Spring, the <b>Wildcats</b> appear to be far ahead of last year so we asked Northwestern Coach <b>Randy Walker</b> who has stepped up for the 'Cats so far...

This time of year you don't usually hear about new team leaders yet...
but one of the reasons behind the Wildcats' improved performance in the Winter conditioning is the emergence of a new crop of team leaders.

They're the guys the coaches want on the same page. They're the ones who ask for and get the extra effort on the practice field and during games.

Last year, there was little doubt who two of the big leaders were - Jeff Roehl and Austin King, but they're gone which leads to the question - "Who are the new team leaders."

Matt Ulrich [NU Photo left] - has been doing a good job with the offensive line. Last year Matt graded out as the second best offensive lineman just behind Austin. He's doing a good job there.

You ought to see
Roger Jordan take a leadership role.

Jason Wright is a very good team leader in general. He has a good handle on the pulse of our football team. I trust Jason - he's very smart, intelligent , "wise beyond his years" kid and I think he has a good handle on what we are .

Of course Baz
[Brett Basanez] as quarterback, even though he's only a sophomore, that position demands leadership.

Defensively? I see
Colby Clark [right] doing a lot of good things.

Pat Durr even though he's injured is still a big factor for our football team.

And in the back half we've got some veteran guys like
Torri Stickey and Louis Ayeni who've been around the block a few times and hopefully are over their injuries and can step up.

We've got a lot of older kids in vital playing positions unlike a year ago when we only had a handful of seniors, and I think as time goes on you'll have a more definitive answer but we've got a lot of guys really stepping up and trying to embrace that.

Of course, every coach expects his veterans to take a leadership role and the players Coach Walker mentioned were much of the driving force behind the almost full team workouts during the Winter quarter, but this year some younger players are also making their presence known up front.

Underclassmen like Zach Strief[left] have also stepped up during the off season

Some of them aren't even veteran players - Jeff Backes leads by example .

Then there's Ray Bogenrief: just a consumate team player, he goes from defense to play tight end - playing awful well there - he's a guy in the winter who got after guys, got 'em going...

We've got a lot of Senior leaders stepping up and they're going to be good players .

Randy Walker's comments in Italics

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