Wildcats work on things that went wrong
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 5, 2006 - When the Wildcats got to McKinney on Friday, the coaches could only get one sideline headset to work. That turned out to be a sign of things to come.

The things that had been working in Sulphur Springs' two preseason scrimmages didn't function quite as well at Ron Poe Stadium in the Wildcats' 32-7 loss.

"There is still a lot of stuff we've got to work on," said SSHS head coach Greg Owens as the Wildcats prepare to host Whitehouse on Friday. "It's just calming down a little and having the kids settle in and say, 'Here's what we do well. Let's do it.'

"That was a big glaring thing. The simple things we've been doing well in scrimmages somewhat they were giving them to us, we just weren't converting offensively."

The Wildcats went through an early morning film session and practice on Labor Day while school was out to try to correct some of the issues they saw. Owens said part of the problem was simply a lack of consistency in executing the assignments.

"When you get tired, you begin to forget. I think at times we got physically fatigued and therefore then we got mentally fatigued, and we'd lose our focus somewhat. That can stop a drive," he explained. "That's our inconsistency right now. We've got to demand consistency out of our kids, and they've got to perform."

The bright side to the mistakes that the coaching staff saw is that they are correctable. Owens said the offensive linemen need to come off the ball stronger, get their heads and body in the proper position and stay on their blocks. Quarterbacks and receivers have to be on the same page.

He saw flashes of it on Friday. The Wildcats had an 11-play drive that got inside the McKinney 5-yard line and two eight-play drives in the second half. None of them resulted in Sulphur Springs points, but they showed what is achievable for the offense.

"What we're capable of is that 11-, 12-, 13-play drive that we put together to take the ball down to the goal line," Owens said. "That's what we've got to do as a football team. That's where we are. 

"We're not going to be a prolific deep-passing offense - we've got to be a precise team that does everything right on every snap."

Defensively, every player needs to fill his gap and read his keys.

"I thought we played OK defensively," the coach explained. "I thought we got after it, but we were on the field too long and got worn down a little bit. We still made some bone head plays, too, mistakes of not making adjustments. That's not seeing it or not staying focused on our key long enough."

With more than half of the roster playing in a varsity game for the first time, Owens is hoping that some of the first-game jitters and mistakes will dissipate when the Wildcats play their first home game Friday against Whitehouse.

"Hopefully, that will happen," he said, "but the bottom line is we've just to play better."

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