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Young Warriors learning slowly

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Aug. 22, 2003
DECATUR Football class is in session at East Central Community College.
The Warrior squad, which is composed of 19 sophomores and 36 freshmen, has been working out for two weeks.
"We've been through a slow learning process because we are so young," said head coach Terry Underwood. "We are doing a lot of teaching and coaching on the finer points. It has been kind of a slower process. We are kind of crawling before we walk.
"We have a great coaching staff, and they work incredibly hard," Underwood added. "I think I have the best coaching staff that there is."
The team's afternoon teaching sessions on the field appear to be paying dividends.
Warriors sophomore offensive lineman Rudy Su'e said the younger players have been able to process a lot of information very quickly.
"I believe the freshmen are catching on pretty good," said Su'e, who is returning from a broken leg he suffered last year. "Especially because they only have a couple of weeks to learn stuff."
ECCC did get a break from its football tutorials on Thursday afternoon, as the program held its media day at the on-campus football field.
Underwood said the disruption of practice was a welcome break for his squad.
"The kids have been practicing for a good, solid two weeks," Underwood said. "It has been nothing but hot sun, the practice field and coach's meetings, plus the first week of school."
The photo and interview session also signaled how close the opening game of the season is for the players.
"It feels good to be in uniform," said wide receiver Titus Ryan. "We can't wait to strap it up and get after it. The season really is right around the corner."
As an added bonus, the team got a break from working out in the afternoon sun thanks to the media event.
The Warriors practiced under the lights for the first time this season following the media day.
ECCC football players were all smiles when they talked about working out in the evening, instead of the hot afternoon.
"We've been feeling the heat for a while now," Su'e said. "It is good to be able to go out and practice at night."
The Warriors have plenty of work to do before they kickoff their season against Holmes Community College on Sept. 4 on the road.
ECCC faces a tough road at the start of its season playing five of its first seven games away from home.
The Warriors are also beginning the season taking on the defending state champions (Holmes), the defending North division champions (Northeast on Sept. 11) and the defending South division champions (Pearl River on Sept. 18).
"It's a unique thing," Underwood said. "We open up with the three champions from a year ago. I've talked to our team about that challenge. I think our kids are excited about it. We have as tough a schedule as anyone in the league. All we can do is prepare each week, and hopefully, we will be able to capitalize and turn it our way."