When Wally Grant was named interim coach for the 2011 Costa Mesa High football season, he introduced his players to three rules.
There is the time-honored Golden Rule. Then, there is majority rule (if the majority of the program is expected to do something, everyone else must comply in a timely fashion). The third rule is: everyone must protect the team.
The result of the first three rules, mostly the majority rule that centers around commitment to practice and weight training, soon led to a dwindling roster … and the formation of a fourth rule.
"No one gets hurt," Grant said of the latest dictum, which is necessitated by an available talent pool that might include as few as a couple dozen uniformed bodies on game nights.
"Pretty soon, kids understood I expected a whole different level of commitment to the program," said Grant, who has pared his initial turnout from 60 players to, at last count, 36, including the varsity and junior varsity rosters. "It was a slow attrition that began in November with all the lifting that we did. We're going to suit up the kids who come every week and do what they're supposed to do."