Spring ball jump-starts offseason for Viking football


Luis Lopez

Vikings participate in offensive drills at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill on March 8, 2018.

Aaron Tolentino, Sports editor

“We’re gonna win the championship today,” said Diablo Valley College head coach Mike Darr. “Everyone’s excited. Anytime you take a step forward, guys are excited, the staff is, the players are.”

Two-time national championship head coach Urban Meyer once said that championships are won in the offseason and how you prepare for battle.

Darr and the Vikings emulate that notion no differently.

The Vikings spring ball program gives new and returning players a head start to work collectively and optimize their success before the official season starts in the fall.

Every Tuesday and Thursday night for the next three months, spring ball will also include current high school seniors. Darr and the coaching staff want to give these players a smoother transition to the college level.

Spring ball will do just that.

“It is almost an absolute must for a guy,” said Darr. “If they want to step in and play right away, they almost have to. The jump from high school to this level is huge.”

While the Vikings coaching staff wants to let these high school kids know how serious the jump is from high school ball to college, they also don’t want to overwhelm them and throw these kids into the fire.

Offensive coordinator Rob Adan wants to have these kids to feel welcomed and acclimated into the Viking family. Before drills start, Adan wants incoming players to introduce themselves to the rest of the team and have the veterans cheer them on.

He alludes to the significance of this because some have had the same teammates their whole lives and having completely new teammates can potentially be rough on a young player.

“Have them introduce themselves, getting the (jersey) numbers and just spending the extra time with them, building that bond real quick,” said Adan on how he can gradually mold the new players into the Viking culture.

Adan went through this same process years ago as a player under Darr and plans to do the same as a coach. The drills and workouts Darr plans to use were glaringly similar to what it was 10 years ago.

“It’s gonna be very similar,” said Adan. “It’s a proven method that works, so it’s just adapting a little bit whatever gets thrown at us.”

Darr’s method of winning the offseason through programs like spring ball proves immensely effective by having 224 transfers to four-year colleges in the last 10 years.

Quarterback Jarrod Hoyer looks to take the next step as a leader and make the new, incoming players feel embraced by the team.

“Introducing myself, letting them know if they ever need anything, I’ll contact them, give them my number,” said Hoyer who is approaching his second year as the Viking signal-caller. “As much as I can talk to them and get them acclimated and ready for the year and ready to learn the offense, the better we’re gonna be.”

The Vikings look to improve upon a season that saw them go 5-6 and a bowl game appearance by taking those key initial steps in the following offseason.

“Everyone’s anxious to take that next step from the staff, me as the head coach and down to guys walking in for the first time,” said Darr.