New Norwin coach trying to restore winning tradition
Norwin football players noticed a different energy around their offseason work this year.
“Everything's amped up,” senior lineman Corey Chrisman said. “You want to be here. You want to be on the field. You want to be hitting. Everything's just different.”
Part of the reason behind the new energy at Norwin is the Knights' new coach. David Brozeski was hired in April to replace Art Tragesser, and the move instilled enthusiasm within the team.
“We're excited to change everything around, hopefully make playoffs and go from there,” senior wide receiver/defensive back Logan Deri said.
Before being named head coach, Brozeski spent 17 seasons as an assistant coach at Norwin, mainly on the defensive side of the ball.
He said the transition to head coach went relatively smoothly, although he did notice some differences.
“As an individual position coach, you really focus on one position, or if you're a coordinator, you're focusing on one side of the ball,” Brozeski said. “Obviously, as a head coach, you're responsible for everything.
“I hired my staff with individuals I'm confident in and I trust. I know they're great coaches. I want to be a coach who my assistants say, ‘Coach Brozeski lets us coach.' It's not like I'm micromanaging or hovering over their shoulder.”
Although Brozeski made minor scheme changes on offense and defense, his biggest adjustment came with the team's philosophy. Deri said workouts were noticeably more intense heading into camp.
In addition, Brozeski developed five “core principles” he wants his team to have: discipline, communication, trust, perseverence and pride. The hope is focusing on those areas can help the Knights turn around their recent struggles, which includes a 4-23 record over the past three seasons.
Brozeski was an assistant on the two most successful Norwin teams in recent years: the 1999 team, which advanced to the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals, and the 2007 squad, which won a home playoff game for the first time in program history.
“The biggest reasons those teams were successful was because mainly they were a team,” Brozeski said. “They got together for one another, and they battled together. Don't get me wrong: They had guys who were very competitive with one another and everything, but they were a strong-knit team that was all working toward the common goal. That's what we're trying to get here.”
Brozeski said the Knights were “moving in the right direction” in becoming a strong team. He's hoping strong teamwork, plus focusing on short-term goals, can help the Knights achieve their long-term hopes of making the playoffs.
“Our motto since the start of camp has been to go 1-0,” Brozeski said. “(Going) 1-0 means to win the rep, win the day, win the practice (and) win the game that's upcoming. The most important practice of the year is the next practice we have. If we battle together and we work to the best of our ability, regardless of what the outcome is on the scoreboard, we'll be satisfied.
“Don't get me wrong: We want to get a lot of W's. But we have to learn how to play together, work together and fight to the finish in every game.”