Johnson tries to build off solid rookie year


Chris Slone

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At the beginning of last season, the West Senators had perhaps the most questions to answer, from unknown expectations to a brand new head coach.

What a difference a year makes.

Coming off a 7-4 campaign and a trip to the postseason, the enthusiasm surrounding the West football program is growing.

“It was a great first year,” Senators head coach Ben Johnson said. “We had a really good group of kids that bought in, which is the most thing. Then you have success on the field and that gets everybody excited. It was a lot of fun.”

Before their postseason run, Johnson admitted his team was flying under the radar — even from the home faithful.

“Last year, nobody knew what to expect,” Johnson said. “They (West) had just come off a couple of down years. They (fans) probably weren’t expecting that much but now that we’ve done it, it’s going to be what’s expected all the time now.”

However, entering his second season, Johnson knows his team set the bar high.

“With that good first year, it’s going to be expected every year from now on,” Johnson said. “So if anything, there is a little more pressure this year than last year.”

Despite the success, Johnson doesn’t necessarily feel more at ease heading into his second training camp.

“I don’t know if I feel any better,” Johnson said. “You’re always going to have nerves starting every season. Every year is an unknown animal. You’ve got a new group of kids coming in and you’re starting fresh.”

One thing Johnson won’t have to stress about is changes to his coaching staff. With last year’s group set to return in 2015, Senator players should be able to enjoy the added stability.

“We’ve pretty much got the same staff back,” Johnson said. “It’s just nice having everybody there and the kids knowing how everything goes. There’s not as much explaining on how to do every little detail. The kids can take a little bit more ownership in leading the practices and drills.”

Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.

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