Ryan Turck is expected to be a leader in every sense of the word next season for the Harker Heights defense. Having seen varsity action as a sophomore, Turck, a rising senior, will be one of the most experienced players on the Knights defense this fall. And at middle linebacker, Turck is also the quarterback of the defense. Turck is already looking forward to this fall, when he and his teammates hope to see a significant improvement on the defensive side of the ball.

What is it like going into your senior year?

It’s kind of sad because my whole life, my favorite sport has always been football. And I don’t know if this is my last season or not, so every play I’m going to go my hardest.

Do you feel like one of the leaders this time?

Yes, I do. Every time I go on the field, everyone gets pumped up and I try to pump them up.

What has a full off-season under head coach Jerry Edwards been like?

He’s the most enthusiastic coach I’ve ever been around — the most enthusiastic ever. He wants us to win, and we expect to win next year.

How does that get you guys pumped up to do what you have to do when he’s enthusiastic like that?

Because we’ve never had a coach that actually expected us to go out there and win and was actually in the weight room coaching us and telling us what to do specifically and how we’re going to get better doing the weights. It’s going to propel us next year to be a good team.

He talked about wanting to improve on defense. How are you guys taking that challenge?

Well, obviously last year we weren’t a very good defense. We weren’t a cohesive team per se. We were a bunch of individuals. … We’re still improving. But next year, we’ll be a lot better team and a lot better defensively.

Where do you feel like the focus has been this spring?

The focus of the spring has basically been to get tougher and to work as a team. If we don’t work as a team, we’re not going to win games.

What have you personally been looking to improve on this off-season?

My tackling ability and my leadership skills — most importantly my leadership skills.

How have you been going about doing that?

Well, I’m obviously playing middle linebacker so coach gives me the calls and I relay them to the team. And if someone messes up on the line, I tell them what’s going on. If there’s a certain blitz call, I tell them which hole to go. We have a little thing called the “No Fly Zone.” When we go on the field and we’re scrimmaging the offense, we start getting on their nerves a little bit because every time they have a dropped pass or an incomplete pass everyone starts saying “No Fly Zone.” And I started that, and I hope it can go into next year. Because that obviously gets in an offense’s head.

Does the defense feel more confident these days?

A lot more confident. Every time they run the ball we say, “No Fly Zone,” because they’re running the ball for a reason because they can’t pass it. But if they drop a pass, like I said, we say, “No Fly Zone.” So, we have an attitude or a swagger going out there.

Contact Jordan Mason at jmason@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7562​

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