Jason Qiu and Tim Seymour are two of the best leaders Mac Barnes said he has ever coached.
The Lamar head football coach, now in his 19th year, said the two senior linemen have set an example for the rest of the team without him expecting it.
“I really don’t count on the players to be leaders. I hope they are, but Jason and Tim just go beyond that,” Barnes said. “They’re doers. If something needs to be done, you don’t have to tell them to do it.”
Qiu and Seymour have been training this summer to improve their explosiveness and strength through the incorporation of new workouts like Omniballs, two-weighted balls that can be attached to the hands and feet to provide aerobic and strength-building exercise.
They’ve also been guiding a young squad of linemen in preparing for the season. They are two of three senior offensive linemen for the Raiders along with four juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen.
Qiu, a three-year starter at guard, said the young players have shown high intensity during their summer workouts, and it’s been enjoyable.
“It’s been a fun summer working out with the guys,” Qiu said.
Seymour, a starting offensive and defensive tackle who earned a starting role his freshman year, said the team’s summer workouts were a great way of growing as a team.
“They built better team camaraderie,” Seymour said. “We all just came together, came here to get a workout in, and we all learned how to work together.”
Summer workouts ended last week for Lamar and official, two-a-day practices began this week ahead of its season opener against Tuscaloosa Academy Saturday, Aug. 17 at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. The Raiders are aiming for a fourth straight MAIS Class AAAA state championship.
It’s a short time to get ready, according to Barnes, who said intense conditioning of the team is over. It’s now about filling positions.
“They’ve been working out this summer and doing what they need to,” Barnes said. “We’re being more tame. We’re trying to see who’s ready to play.”
Seymour said his job as an older player is to teach the underclassmen how to get ready for competition.
“Them coming up, it’s important for us seniors to really lead them and show them what they need to do,” Seymour said. “If they do something wrong, correct them positively, but not be too easy on them at the same time.”