The North Kansas City football program is changing its ways. That's a good thing.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
After focusing on creating a new mentality within the Hornets for the last two seasons, coach Leon Douglas has offered fewer inspirational messages, words of motivation or confidence-building speeches this preseason.
There's a reason for the change. Following a two-year period in which the Hornets won only a combined five games, they went 5-6 and won a playoff game in 2012.
That's progress in the win column and progress in the team's mentality -- players and coaches.
"I definitely think from a confidence standpoint, we feel like we don't have to do what we did last year to get the guys going," Douglas said. "They already have that edge. They believe they can win and play with just about anybody. We just have to prove it."
They will have to do it without last year's offensive leader, Marcus Jones, who accounted for 28 touchdowns.
The Hornets will rely on another Marcus — Marcus Skinner — to shoulder some of the load. Skinner suffered an injury to an ankle during the preseason last year and was limited for most of the season. He returns healthy in 2013.
"He's a kid I'm excited to see develop and show what he can do on Friday nights," Douglas said. "He really put in work where he is a different kid this year."
North Kansas City plans to throw the ball more with Bryce Graskemper at quarterback. Donardto Majok is his top option at wide receiver.
Defensive end Jordan Williams is expected to be the playmaker for the defense. He is joined on the line by Mohamed Jamal.