SM Football Preview: Royals stronger in mind, body

Anthony Linebaugh didn?t have much time to get the San Marcos High football team ready for the season last year. He got the job in June and the season started two months later. The team struggled to a 1-9 record.

After a full year under Linebaugh?s leadership, there?s a definite change in the attitude of the players in the program.

?Everything has changed, from the (off-season) workouts to the practices,? said senior running back Esteban Alfaro. ?Everything is so different. Everything he teaches has benefitted us in every way. I?m really excited. I can?t wait to win some games.?

2013 ROYALS SEASON SCHEDULE

Said senior quarterback Wesley Ghan-Gibson: ?We?re into the little things. We?re more prepared and more mentally strong.?

The motto on Linebaugh?s T-shirt says it all about what?s happening in the San Marcos football program: ?Buy in, Be in, All in.?

He refurbished the weight room and got an offseason training program going.

?The one ingredient which is so important to a successful season is to have a successful offseason program. I didn?t have that with the players last year,? he said. ?This year we had a complete off season and a great commitment on part of the players. That made a huge difference. That set us up to have a successful spring and we?ve had a good summer.?

The difference is noticeable.

?It?s just night and day, not just in physical preparation but also in the mental comfort and mental toughness of the players, and their familiarity with me, with the system and with expectations we have with our staff,? said Linebaugh.

?The relationships we?ve been able to forge, the relationships among players are really going to be key for our success this year,? he continued. ?The players understand that expectations are high, so we have to do our best to prepare to be in a position to be successful.?

The offensive has lots of potential with veteran skill position players like Gibson, Alfaro (976 yards rushing in 2012), Cameron Whitney.

?Wes has really embraced the role of being a field general,? Linebaugh said. ?Esteban is a young man who does everything well; he?s a good teammate. As long as he?s healthy, he has a chance to be a very special player.?

Another player expected to make an impact is Luke Lamoutte.

?He?s in his second year and the sky?s the limit for him,? Linebaugh said of the junior running back/linebacker. ?He?s another young player who has a chance to make a positive impression on the team.?

Senior center Jose Lara leads a bigger, stronger line.

Key underclassmen include Jo Jo Estrada (wide receiver/defensive back), Nate Willis (tackle) and Sage Reed (last year?s JV quarterback who is now a tight end/linebacker).

The varsity is bolstered by several players off a JV team that went 7-2 last year.

Lara and senior Josh Beasley spearhead the defensive line. Another junior Linebaugh is high on is Marco Valdivia at cornerback.

Linebaugh likes the attitude of this group. He said ?the expectation is for us to win.

?We?re looking at the opportunity to get San Marcos football back to where it was,? he added. ?It was a proud program. In the ?90s, there were some glory years. There is a very strong alumni base and they care about this team. We want to bring San Marcos football back to where it was. We know it?s not going to be easy, but then again these young men are putting in the time, effort that I believe is going to make that happen.?

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