1. The O-line. Palmer hopes to wear down defenses behind a powerful, experienced line. Mammoth 6-foot-5, 290-pounder Austin Tottle, who has D-I potential, is the leader up front. At tight end, 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior Reece Dantzscher is a solid blocker and can grab a pass or two from second-year quarterback Dylan Lantz. The running game is in good hands because of Edwin Mc- Kinney, a junior with 4.5 speed.
2. Attitude. Palmer was also encouraged by his team's attitude coming off a trying season. "They do well in the classroom, and they're working hard out on the football field as well," he said. "They've been in the weight room all summer getting stronger."
Coach: George Palmer (19th season, 95-93) | Last season: 2-8 | Class: 4A, District 9 | Colors: Orange and royal blue
Two seasons ago, a deep, talented senior class led Osceola to an 8-2 record and a playoff berth, where it lost to eventual state champ Plant. Ten seniors from that team had the opportunity to play football in college. Their presence was sorely missed in '07 as Osceola spiraled to 2-8. The Warriors will field a more experienced team, but duplicating the talent from that '06 squad is a season or two away. "It'll be hard for us to dominate anybody," coach George Palmer said.
1. Will a lack of athletes again do in Osceola? The Warriors' record last season was due partly to a lack of playmakers. Unless someone steps up, it could be an issue again. The Warriors have only a handful of players who can run under a 5.0.
2. Did the Warriors learn from last season's struggles? Osceola started a number of inexperienced underclassmen last year and the team wasn't always on the same page. "Just something was missing," said Renard Rowe, who will be counted on heavily as a receiver. "Everybody was worried about other people instead of themselves. It kind of broke us down in the end."
Bryan Burns, Times staff writer