|Wildcats open practice running|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Aug. 7, 2006 - On the practice field before the sun came up and off the grass before the dew was dry, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats were introduced this morning to the Greg Owens' style of running things.
A fast-paced practice, that started at 6 a.m. and ended about two hours later so coaches could attend teacher inservice, began the head coaching tenure of Owens at SSHS, where he was an All-State linebacker in the mid-80s.
The practice - which was in shorts and helmets - began with Owens giving the players a summary of the coaching staff's expectations, and ended with a chant of "C-D-P," initials that Wildcat fans will hear a lot of.
"We just talked about about on their shirts they've got something that says, "C-D-P," and the thing I've preached since I got here Feb. 1," Owens said. "It's character, discipline and passion. Those things are what we're going to do - we're going to act right, we're going to do right and we're going to play hard. We're not going to be a bunch of individuals; we're going to be team players, and that's our expectations for them.
"Very bluntly, we told them that if they want to be a part of it, they're going to meet our expectations. That's just our standard."
The Wildcats will meet again at 5 p.m. today for a longer practice (about three hours), and continue at the same time each day this week for two-a-day workouts. They will spend the first four days in shorts, then put on pads on Friday, the first day allowed by the University Interscholastic League.
The morning practice was filled mostly with individual position drills, though the team did meet briefly in an 11-on-11 hull. True to Owens' pre-practice promise, the drills were basic and fundamental.
"We set the ground rules one more time of what we expect of them, what time they're supposed to be here, effort, attitude and all those sorts of things. Those are the things we talked about, and the kids seemed to be on board with it," Owens explained.
"It's the first day and everything's fresh, and they're fired up. They're rejuvenated, the coaches are rejuvenated. We're trying to find time to get it all done, but we're going to get there."
The players are familiar with Owens since he was hired away from Lindale in February and coached them during their athletic period in the spring. But, this is the first time they have had a full-fledged practice.
What the Wildcats found out is that it is a go-go-go tempo.
"That's our speed," Owens said. "Our tempo is not to drag tail - our tempo is to get it on. Get your drill, get your stuff done, and get the next guy in. That's the way we're going to do it.
"They did a good job. There were focused and intent this morning. Kids always get worked up on a day like this, too. We just ask them to have a great attitude - a great coachable attitude."