So far, so good for Cats on second day
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

August 10, 2004 - Trading out a week in full pads this summer for a month in the spring works for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats if players do two things - stay in shape and remember what they learned.

After a day-and-a-half in shorts and helmets, the Cats are getting a thumbs-up from head coach Brad Turner on both accounts.

"So far, so good. We look good in shorts," Turner said with a laugh after Tuesday morning's workout. "Really, working out in shorts is just about getting some continuity and seeing what they've retained from spring training.

"By the end of the week, we should have everything re-introduced that we did in the spring. So far, the retention has been awesome. That's one of the main reasons you do that in the spring. If we had to start right now, and they hadn't retained anything, then you're a week behind. Our retention is good."

The Cats have also been blessed with warm, but not scorching hot weather. By working out from 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 6-8 p.m., they are missing the hottest parts of the day, and so far August has been about 10 degrees cooler than normal. That may change when the full pads go on Friday, but the players are accepting the cooler weather for now, anyway.

Going mostly through defensive position drills and working on timing on offense, the Wildcats have shown they are in pretty good shape for the first few days of practice. Like other high schools across the state, Sulphur Springs was able to run a weight lifting and conditioning program for part of the summer, but it's been almost a month since that concluded.

But, Turner sees players who are stronger and faster than they were in January.

"I think every kid that went through our offseason and our spring are stronger and faster - they don't have a choice," he explained. "That's one good things about how we do our strength and conditioning. If they're in there, they're going to get stronger and faster, some more than others.

"Those who participated in track and powerlifting may be a little ahead, but right now I don't see more than a couple of players who are out of shape. Almost everybody's in pretty good shape, and there's a bunch who are in great shape, so that's good."

With more than 60 freshmen reporting for practice from 4-6 p.m., the head count for all three SSHS teams is between 170-180. Turner expects to have about 55 on varsity and around 50 on JV.

The JV and varsity work out together twice a day, while the freshman practice by themselves once a day in the afternoon.

"We'll go this evening, two tomorrow and two on Thursday. By then, we should have everything we did in the spring in," Turner explained. "We'll put the pads on Friday and simplify it down, work on tackling and blocking. Touch football will officially be over Thursday.

" Again, in shorts you want to see what they've retained, get some continuity in units and get them in shape. So far, we're doing good."

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