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ALL-STAR FOOTBALL GAME : THE KILLER B’s : Byrnes to Work at Becoming Bigger, Stronger

<i> Times Staff Writer</i>

When Tim Brynes, Sunny Hills High School running back, arrives at Cal State Fullerton in seven weeks, the coaches may not recognize him.

Byrnes, with the help of a rigorous weight training program and some instruction from Kevin McNair, former UC Irvine track coach, plans to be bigger and stronger in his attempt to make the Titan football team as a freshman.

Byrnes realizes that life on the football field after high school dictates that he spend six days a week in the weight room.

“I’ve been partying and practicing for the past two weeks,” Byrnes said, as he prepares for Friday night’s Orange County All-Star football game at Eddie West Field. “After the game, it’s time to go to work.”

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While most of his North squad teammates have jobs lined up this summer, Byrnes will be working diligently to add 20 pounds on his 5-foot 11 1/2-inch frame. He weighs 195 pounds and said he needs to get to 215 if he hopes to become a running back for the Titans.

“Right now, the coaches at Fullerton have me projected as a running back,” Byrnes said. “I need more weight and more speed. I’m going to start working with Kevin McNair on my running style, and he says he can lower my 40 time by two-tenths of a second.

“My best time in the 40 is 4.8. I never thought I could run a 4.6. If I could do that, it would be great. I have three goals this summer and that’s to improve my strength, speed and gain some weight.”

For three years, Byrnes threw his weight around at Sunny Hills. He was a starting nose guard for the Lancers as a sophomore and then played an integral role as a junior fullback, linebacker and kicker for the Sunny Hills team that won the Southern Section’s Central Conference title in 1983.

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In 1984, Byrnes rushed for 960 yards and scored 13 touchdowns in the regular season and led the Lancers to the Central Conference semifinals. He’s scheduled to start at linebacker for the North on Friday night.

“I’ve been at Sunny Hills since 1975, and we haven’t had a player here in that time compare to Tim,” said Tim Devaney, Lancer coach. “The only player in the history of this school that would compare to Tim was Tom Yaru, who went on to play at the University of Oregon.”

Despite Byrnes’ heroics at Sunny Hills, the college recruiters hardly noticed. Byrnes said he received inquiries from the University of Hawaii, Oregon State and Cal Lutheran, but only Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College actively recruited him.

“A recruiter would call and ask me, ‘How big are you?’ and I’d tell him, ‘I’m 6-1, 215,’ ” Byrnes said. “There would be a pause and then they would say, ‘That’s kind of small.’ I didn’t dare tell them I was only 5-11 1/2 and 195 pounds.

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“I seriously thought about playing for Hal Sherbeck at Fullerton College. He has a great program with a great, national reputation. But I wanted to start and finish in a four-year program. Cal State Fullerton is close to home, and we’ll see how it turns out.”

Byrnes said he has no preference whether he plays linebacker or running back.

“Running back is a glory position,” he said. “But I’ve learned that the non-glory players tend to be the ones who hold the team together. I like playing linebacker because I like hitting people. But it doesn’t matter to me where I play, I

just want a chance to play.”

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Byrnes also learned that defending champions are often the targets of upstart teams. The Lancers won the championship in his junior year despite a 6-4 record going into the playoffs. Last fall, the Lancers rolled into the playoffs with a 9-1 record but lost to La Mirada in the semifinals.

“We peaked perfectly for the playoffs during my junior year and then were awesome in the playoffs,” Byrnes said. “We were unbeatable, outscoring four teams, 99-7. This year, everybody was shooting for us.

“We had a big game against Newport Harbor in the quarterfinals and squeaked out a win. The next week, we had a letdown against La Mirada and got beat.”

Byrnes doesn’t expect a letdown in the All-Star game. Devaney, who will coach the North, also has Adam Shea (center) and Mike Lutz (defensive back) from his Sunny Hills team scheduled to start.

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“We’re sound all over,” Byrnes said. “Just about everybody can play on both sides of the ball. I figure if we can stop the South’s running back and put pressure on their quarterbacks, we’ll be in good shape.”

Byrnes plans to major in business at Cal State Fullerton, where he’ll bring a 3.2 grade-point average in college preparatory classes from Sunny Hills.

Devaney said he has no doubts that Byrnes will develop into a good college football player.

“I always thought that no matter where Tim went, he was going to be a player by the time he was a senior,” Devaney said. “He’s a very dedicated athlete. The whole business about his size was a big thing when he was being recruited, but once he’s in a program, a college coach will realize what a great kid Tim is.

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“It’s tough to see him go because Tim is such a personable kid that was well-liked by everybody at this school.”


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