London Olympians offensive coordinator Murray Dumas is anticipating an exciting season in store as the South Londoners look to move back among the American football elite in Great Britain.
The Olympians won the first of their back-to-back EuroBowl's 20 years ago and won the British title 10 out of 11 years from 1996-2006, but have seen crosstown rivals London Blitz, from north of the Thames, and London Warriors, from the west of the city, set themselves apart from the rest of the BAFA National League in recent seasons.
“With two teams, the Warriors and Blitz, they've got many coaches and players who have come from our club, when we were at the height, so those two teams particularly, practice well and prepare very well,” Dumas said. “A lot of teams over the last five years, from what I have seen, they've dropped back a little bit and now they're seeing the old ways of what we used to be coming through with the Warriors and Blitz and they saw that we've come back, they're now stepping up. This season should be very exciting.”
Dumas initially joined the Olympians in 1998, during their decade of dominance, and was with the club until 2007, before taking a five-year break and returning to the club last year and remembers the championship years with fondness.
“That was unbelievable football,” Dumas said. “We never took anything for granted, we always prepared really well.
“We had guys who had been around football from youth and come up all the way through. They'd been around the older players who had been in EuroBowl and they had had that real strong feeling about football, and so it was much easier to drill them and to drive them.
“Those years were very, very exciting because we felt we always had that extra step, we could do that little bit more and we could add the more complicated football to them and that really made us that much better than everybody else, that two or three steps in front of everybody else.”
The extra training the team are doing is paying off, according to the offensive coordinator.
“When they come to the practices their development has jumped so much,” he said. “We are at this point of the season, at the halfway stage of last season, so we have jumped immensely with the ability of the players.”
And the club's offensive and defensive units are not afraid to go toe-to-toe on the practice field either.
We try and make it as bitter as possible,” Dumas said, only half-jokingly! “And you make it a battle. That way, they know that if they can beat their own man into the ground, they'll beat anybody into the ground.”
And Dumas is hopeful some of the old magic can rub off on this group of youngsters.
“We've got a long way to go to compare with the decade championships and the teams that went to the EuroBowl,” he said. “But they're young and they're willing to work extremely hard, so it's not going to take too long before they're getting themselves into that arena and the mind process that we used to have and work in the same way.”