170 Wildcats show up on first day
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

August 9, 2004 - Sulphur Springs coaches were in the process of fitting helmets on 160-170 high school football players early this morning as the Wildcats geared up for their first team workout Monday afternoon.

Monday was the first day the Wildcats could hit the practice field, and the varsity and JV players were out-fitted with helmets and on the practice field doing "gassers," a conditioning run, by 7 a.m. when the freshmen reported to get their helmets.

Head coach Brad Turner is expecting about 50 players each on varsity and JV and another 60 ninth-graders this season.

"Right now, we're trying to get equipment issued, lockers assigned, making sure helmets fit and all that," Turner said. "You want to get all of that done so that this afternoon we can come out and get right to work.

"We've got a few kids who don't have their physicals yet, and we're trying to get them to get that done before this afternoon's practice. We had a few we didn't expect who showed up, and there are a few who haven't come in yet, but we expect will be here by this afternoon."

The freshmen will practice this week from 4-6 p.m. each day, while the varsity and JV will go through two-a-days, from 6:30-8:30 each morning and 6-8 p.m. each evening.

Turner had at first planned to have the morning sessions working for 90 minutes primarily on the kicking game. But, he was able to lengthen the practice to two full hours and will have a regular 24-period workout, referring to the five-minute segments that the practice session is divided into.

"There are scheduled breaks in there for every practice," he said. "Hopefully at 6 o'clock, it won't be too bad. The humidity isn't as high as it could be.

"We'll have water available at every drill and all through practice, then we have some scheduled full five-minute breaks where they can take their hats off and sit under the shade trees and cool off a little bit. It shouldn't be too bad."

When school starts next week, the freshmen will start practice at 2:30 p.m., with the JV and varsity beginning after school at 4 p.m.

"If they've been out here working out all summer, then they should be acclimated to it somewhat. Of course, they didn't have pads on, but that's one reason you go shorts for a week," the coach said. "Counting this one, we'll get eight workouts in shorts. They'll get used to carrying that helmet around, and then Friday we'll get into full pads."

Even when they get into pads, Turner doesn't believe in a lot of full-contact, 11-on-11 scrimmaging. He prefers doing smaller individual and unit drills.

"One of the worst things that can happen is to get a player hurt now and you might not get them back," he explained. "We have a pretty good idea who the players are. There are always some players who either didn't go through spring training or didn't have a good spring who will shine. But, they can shine in a drill just like they can in full-contact scrimmage.

"I don't think there's a whole lot of sense in going 11-on-11, full-contact a lot and take a chance on getting one of your kids hurt. Injuries happen, that's part of it, but you don't want it to be unnecessary."

This week will end with the annual intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday ... maybe.

Turner said because the Prim Stadium turf isn't ready to be played on, the team will likely have their intrasquad event at the practice field. If they do it at all.

"We'll just wait and see how the week goes. If we've had a pretty good week, we may not do it. If we haven't, then we may just do it right out here," he said while standing at the James Cameron practice field.

Photos are still expected to be taken at Prim Stadium Saturday morning as part of the preseason photo/media day.

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