·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   · 

Volume 91, Issue 9

Thursday, September 11, 1997

frosh as a daisy


Lookout Mac, Krete's back!

©Geoff Robins/Gazette

COME HERE AND GIVE ME A BIG HUG. Opposing quarterbacks may want to map out the fastest routes to the local emergency room with the return of Krete to Western's linebacking core.

By Alan Russette
Gazette Writer

The Mustang football team got an unexpected boost when it opened training camp this year with All-Canadian linebacker and last season's CIAU defensive player of the year, Derek Krete on the roster. Krete will be entering his fourth year of eligibility and should bolster an already impressive Western defence.

"We were pleasantly surprised by his return," head coach Larry Haylor said. "It wasn't planned. We thought that he would be playing pro ball somewhere."

Krete began his attempt at professional football near the end of March when he attended a National Football League combine in Toronto to test his ability. He did very well, surpassing many of his personal bests including a 4.5 second 40-yard dash. Unfortunately, Krete pulled a groin muscle during the exhibition and had to return to London for rehabilitation.

In early June, Krete was contacted by Jack Elway, a scout for the Denver Broncos, who invited him for testing. Krete stayed for six days but couldn't crack the roster after Bronco management made a number of free-agent signings. He then headed to Washington where he performed quite poorly in front of the Redskins' personnel.

"I just had a really bad day," Krete said. "I tested horribly. I think that maybe the groin was starting to catch up with me."

Surprisingly, Krete received another call from Jack Elway who expressed the Broncos interest in him, advising him to stay in the game. Krete then took a shot with Albany, New York of the Arena Football League, but re-injured his groin. It was at that point he decided to return to London.

"I discussed things with Larry [Haylor] and we decided that coming back was the right thing for me to do," Krete said.

Krete's injury remains a cause of great concern for Western's coaches. He was examined by team physicians and sat out the season-opening 29-10 win against Windsor. He is expected, however, to dress for this Saturday's home opener against Laurier.

In 1995, Krete played the majority of the season with a hamstring pull which had an adverse affect on his play. Playing Krete through injuries is a mistake that the Mustangs will try to avoid.

"Ideally we would like him to play every down," Haylor said. "The thing is, we're not going to sacrifice the remaining seven games for just one game."

The Mustang defensive scheme will sport a slightly new look this year, experimenting with two and three linebacker sets. For the last several seasons Western has relied primarily on a two linebacker set, inserting an additional defensive back to guard against the pass. This is a demanding system which places a lot of responsibility on the linebackers to defend against rushing attacks.

With the departure of All-Canadian linebacker Patrick Denis for the CFL, Krete's return will lend a needed dimension of strength and experience to both systems.

Defensive end Roger Dunbrack believes that Krete will have a huge effect on the rest of the defense.

"He plays with such intensity and is going to make a lot of plays this year," Dunbrack said, "He is such a dominant player. He learned a lot from his experience down south and has shared that with the guys up here. We're all happy to have him back."

Krete brings more to the team than just a presence on defense. Last season he was used as a fullback and blocking back in short yardage and goal-line situations. Haylor said although they hadn't spent time working on these plays for this week, it will definitely be something they would look at for future games.

Meanwhile, he has by no means given up on his aspirations to make the NFL and hopes that one more strong year at Western might bolster his chances.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997