Spring football a reality for five more county squads
By Marcus Stone, Sports Editor
Spring football is nearly in full swing around Williamson County as 7-of-10 area schools have now begun practice.
Ravenwood opened April 25, joining Brentwood and Franklin who started earlier that week, while Brentwood Academy, Centennial, Independence, and Page kicked off April 29.
Raptor coach Will Hester, in his first year at Ravenwood, described the first day of practice as similar to getting to open presents on Christmas morning.
Hester is using the practice days to install base schemes on both offense and defense, while still finding time for fundamentals. He says the most important thing is to evaluate the kids and getting to see the pieces of the puzzle.
“We want to be able to tailor our schemes to our playmakers in the fall,” said Hester. “We have to identify who those are and what their skill set is before we can put what we’re going to be on offense and defense in stone.”
Every position is open for the taking at this point for Ravenwood – most notably the quarterback position that is currently a five-person battle.
While both coaches and players are excited on Wilson Pike about a new era, practice is anything but easy at this time of year.
“We’re practicing at a pace I’m not sure they’ve ever practiced at before,” the coach said. “There’s a little bit of fatigue, but like we tell them, those adversity battles we’re fighting now are going to help us in the fall.”
Also in his first year at a new school, Independence’s Scott Blade is thrilled to have the preparation period behind him and finally get out on the practice field.
“When you start out at a new program you have everything to install,” he said. “You have to get the fields right, new environment – everything. To be able to just get out on the field and have everybody padded u – it took a huge burden off.”
With numbers in the mid 40s due to players in baseball, track, and soccer, Blade’s main goal was to get a head start on installation.
“We’re going to go ahead and install everything,” said Blade. “That way when the team comes back after dead period, and we start working on football specific stuff again, they have something to draw on.”
While spring practice is busy and fast, the coach knows getting installation out of the way early will yield smoother practices in July.
Despite several key skill position players competing in spring sports, Blade says he is in a constant state of evaluating players and everyone has a shot to play – being that the team is young and moving to a new scheme.
Similar to Indy, Centennial is expecting more position battles at lineman than skill spots in spring.
The excitement level is high with the Cougars as coach Brian Rector has led the team to back-to-back playoff appearances. Rector has had a little extra fun with his team leading up to the first day of practice, keeping the agenda a secret.
“We’re all very excited,” he said. “A lot of enthusiasm with the kids. They keep wanting to ask what we’re doing and (how we’re going to do things). We’re kind of keeping it under wraps just to have fun with it.”
Centennial expected approximately 50 kids to take part in spring practice with the coaching staff looking forward to developing young players while others compete in spring sports.
“I’m very excited to work with the guys that are more developmental type kids,” Rector said. “That’s what we’re doing with spring. We’re going to use it as a development for our program.”
The staff hopes to find younger players who can earn important minutes come fall.
“We’re looking for some people who got some playing time last year to really improve on their confidence and their football awareness,” said Rector. “And then we’re looking to make some kids that haven’t got a lot of playing time comfortable with getting in there.”
Brentwood Academy finds themselves in a similar situation with lower numbers due to spring sports.
With a number of Eagles fighting for a state championship in baseball and track and field, coach Cody White still has a sense of excitement – but a scaled back one.
“It’s tempered a little bit,” he said. “We don’t have everybody in pads – it is what it is. It’s a good opportunity to put some new thoughts out there and see what it looks like.”
Despite spring sports, the entire team is present throughout the week as football is held following normal athletic events for a little over an hour.
White plans to use this period to see what new schemes look like on the field and decide whether or not pursuing them would be worthwhile.
The second-year BA coach echoed the sentiment of many coaches in the area that spring is a time for players in the trenches, calling it a glorified offensive/defensive line camp.
Posted on: 4/30/2013