Mason football coach stresses attitude, effort in summer

Mason football coach Brian Castner doesn’t let his team look at the past or try to peer into the future.

Coming off a 7-5 season and a third straight Division I playoff appearance, Castner’s philosophy is simple:

Take care of the now.

“We keep it real simple,” Castner said. “Today is a great day to go 1-0. The kids that have been in the program know every day is about attitude and effort. Those are the two things they can control every day.”

If Mason can put enough 1-0 days together, Castner knows the playoffs are possible.

Mason picked up its first Division I playoff win in 2016 before falling in round two to Sycamore.

“If we do what we are supposed to do, we will be in the playoffs and then who knows what happens,” Castner said. “But, with the way the points work and the Harbin computer, it is hard to tell what will happen. We don’t talk about it much because it is something we can’t control.

“We know there are going to be challenges along the way. All we can do is compete to pass each day.”

The Comets have been close to 80 strong during summer workouts with Castner keeping with his tradition of working out in the evening, timing workouts for about the same time as kickoffs when the season begins.

The Comets have competed in three 7-on-7 competitions, but while seeing what the players can do is nice, Castner knows the true test comes when the pads are put on.

“We are going to have competition at a lot of spots,” Castner said. “But right now it is just guys running around in pajamas. There is no contact and we know contact can really eliminate you so we really don’t know yet.”

• Kings coach Andy Olds was excited after spending a week in early July at team camp at Capitol University. He is also fired up about a couple of newcomers to the coaching staff.

Chip King returns to Kings after spending some time at Waynesville to handle the offensive line and former Waynesville kicker Caleb Keeton joins the staff as the kicking coach.

“Those are game changers for us,” Olds said. “To have those two as a part of our staff is really going to help us.”

Kings is averaging close to 70 sophomores, juniors and seniors cominbed at workouts and another 35 freshmen, leading Olds to a key observation.

“This group is a completely different personality than the teams before them,” Olds said. “They are strangely hungrier. It’s almost like they have a chip on their shoulder.”

Part of that chip comes from a Week 11 loss where the Knights outplayed Miamisburg but gave up two big plays in being eliminated from the playoffs.

“Urban Meyer said you got to play your best when it is most important,” Olds said. “We didn’t do that in the first half, but we turned it on in the second half.

“But we are not going to talk about the playoffs or winning conference this year, we are going to focus on the process. I think it will pay dividends because focusing on the process is what it is going to take for us to win games.”

Gone too are goals.

“We have four commitments: have a great attitude, do your very best, treat people right and under all circumstances be grateful,” Olds said. “If we do that, we are going to win games, but more importantly they are going to win in the game of life.”

Kings had its lone 7-on-7 canceled earlier in the summer but replaced it with one held recently.

“I can’t remember having this much talent at the skill positions,” Olds said. “We have had a lot of high-profile kids that this group has had to sit behind and they are excited it’s their turn.”

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