Wildcats hit the field running
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Aug. 8, 2005 - Sulphur Springs football players didn't have to attend the summer conditioning workouts the last two months. But, it sure paid off for those who did.

The Wildcats reported to the fieldhouse at 6:30 a.m. today to receive their equipment, then they hit the practice fields about 45 minutes later to run 20 timed 100-yard sprints.

Once they completed those sprints, in which the players had just 60 seconds turnaround between each interval, the players were released by head coach Brad Turner until they are scheduled to report at 5:45 p.m. today for a 6 p.m. practice start.

About 100 JV and varsity players reported for the first day.

"It's about what we expected," Turner said. "We'll end up with 105 varsity and JV, probably. I don't know how many freshmen came in, but I know they were missing a few. You'll always have a handful of freshmen show up the first day of school for whatever reason.

"One of our varsity guys is in Seattle at a family reunion, one who had to work. There are four or five that weren't here, but we knew they wouldn't be because of one thing or another. Then, there's a couple not here that we don't know where they are at. We've had a couple of move-ins from Pittsburg, and we have two or three others."

The new players got a gut-wrenching workout the first day as the coaches evaluated what kind of shape the team is in. Those who had been faithful in their summer regimen - Josh Riley, Brian Nix and Jacob Jenkins, to name a few - were usually the ones leading the pack at their respective positions.

"Summer workouts went good. I don't know if it was the best summer we've ever had. You always have some do really good, and then you have some that don't," Turner explained. "Our kids are so involved in this community with church camps, we had a lot of kids go to football camps. We have a lot of kids that work.

"We don't punish them for any of that. We have a lot of kids who do stuff on their own, but it was a successful summer. Obviously it shows."

Whatever shape the players reported isn't as big of an issue as what shape they will be in when the Wildcats travel to Jacksonville on Aug. 26 for the season opener.

"My message to them this morning was, 'Whatever you did or didn't do this summer, there's nothing to do about it now. We're here now and we've got to go forward. If you had a good summer, great. If you didn't, then you have to play catch-up to get where you need to be.'"

For many coaches, this was the first time they had a chance to see the players. The Wildcats have seven new coaches on staff - five at SSHS and two at SSMS.

They secluded themselves last week at Helm Ranch to go over scheme, skills and personnel.

"Last week was great. I think we have a very good staff," Turner said. "We have seven new coaches, and I'm excited about them. We got a lot of work done, and I think we're all on the same page."

Notes: The Wildcats' scrimmage against Whitehouse has been moved up from Saturday, Aug. 20, to Friday, Aug. 19. The freshmen/JV will start about 5:30 p.m., with the varsity to begin at about 7 p.m. at Gerald Prim Stadium. ...Coach Turner is also leaning toward canceling the intrasquad scrimmage that was scheduled for this Saturday. The players will still have photos made that morning, but will probably not scrimmage that evening to prevent unnecessary exposure to injury. ...Safety Jake Broumley, one of only three returning starters on defense, broke his foot last month playing baseball and will be out of action for probably another two weeks.

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