EDMOND — There's a certain comfort level for Warren Wand entering this football season.
The Edmond Memorial junior was a bundle of nerves last season, unsure of what to expect as a 5-foot-7 sophomore at the varsity level. Factor in that he was immediately named the starting quarterback, and things really got crazy.
Even with Wand at quarterback, Memorial got off to a slow start and moved him to his natural position — running back. That's when things took off and the Bulldogs made the Class 6A playoffs.
Now, Wand enters the season knowing he is the running back and knowing what to expect on the field.
“Playing running back, you go through a lot of hits, especially at the varsity level,” he said. “It's not like freshman anymore; it's a lot faster and you've got a lot more power out there.
“Now it's just having the peace of mind and confidence knowing that I can depend on my line, knowing that they're working hard and doing the best that we can do to have another good season.”
Wand quietly turned into a human highlight reel last season, rushing for more than 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Google his name and the first YouTube video shows him playing quarterback and running a near flawless read option against Deer Creek. His hudl profile has numerous highlights very similar from both the quarterback and running back position.
But his most impressive highlight might be the first on hudl, a video of him deep squatting 428 pounds.
That's just the beginning of his impressive measures. Edmond Memorial coach Justin Merideth said Wand runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, has a 39-inch vertical leap and jumped more than 22 feet in the long jump last track season.
“He's got all the measurables,” Merideth said. “The only issue he's ever going to have is his height.”
Knowing that might be an issue when it comes to college recruiting, Wand admits he wishes he was a little taller.
When asked what he wants to improve on this season, his response was nearly comical.
“Try not to get caught from behind (down field),” he said. “That and grow a little more, too.”
Wand also gets encouraged when he sees players his size like Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew succeeding in the NFL.
Right now, though, Wand is focusing on helping Memorial start the season stronger. Last season's 0-5 start was less than ideal, even if the Bulldogs did rally to make the postseason.
“You've got to keep confidence even then and you have a whole second half of the season,” Wand said. “That's what we did. We even made it to the playoffs; probably nobody thought we would do that, but we did.”
With him in the backfield, things already look better to start this season.
“I think as much as anything it will help him to get off to a better start from what he had last year,” Merideth said. “Again, being comfortable, having a summer and spring under his belt is only going to make him better, and that's a very good thing for us.”