Eagles and Trojans open practices Monday morning

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Aug. 3, 2007 - With the summer months officially winding down for area high school football players, the Como-Pickton Eagles and the Cumby Trojans are preparing for the start of the football season.

The Eagles and Trojans are set for practices Monday morning with UIL-sanctioned non-contact drills before Friday's opening day of full pad workouts.

COMO-PICKTON EAGLES

New head coach Paul Tullis is expecting around 48 players for the start of practices with a new excitement and determination after an 0-10 record last year.

"Hopefully, we will have 30-32 coming back from what we had during offseason last year and that will mainly be varsity," Tullis said. "We will have 16 freshman coming out that will make up most of the junior varsity team.

"I expect the kids to come in and re-learn some things that we did while putting the offense in during the offseason and we can come back and refresh that real quick. We want to make sure we run them right and know all of the rules for the blocking schemes."

The Eagles will be going through two practice sessions in the morning to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and to keep the players fresh.

"We are going to go two hours in the morning from 8-10 a.m. with offense during the first half of practice and then defense," the coach explained. "We will then take an hour break in the middle to rest, get Gatorade and eat a snack and maybe watch film. We will then go out that final hour and work our offense since the offense takes longer to get going."

He said in preparation for the scrimmage on Aug. 18 against Cumby, the players will be working on perfecting their base plays during practices after a successful run with those plays during the summer 7-on-7 schedule.

"Like I said, we put in most of the base plays last spring and we have almost the whole offense in," he said. "We will work on those and have a glorified practice with Cumby next week."

CUMBY TROJANS

Trojan head coach Kent Hawthorne said he was not sure how many players would be attending the first day of practices due to kids moving and other situations that occurred during the summer.

"We don't have a clue to tell you the truth. We are going to have about 35 kids out for practices that have uniforms at this point in time," he said.

"I've got one player that broke the bones in his eye playing football at home, who ran into another player and split his head open and he has a concussion. I've got another player who punched his hand through a window while I was at coaching school and got nerve damage, and he is out six weeks. I've got another player that twisted his ankle, and I've got another player that fell off a ladder at work and broke his collarbone and he won't go to the doctor."

He said the Trojans will be on the field for two sessions in the morning, and teaching players will be his main emphasis the first week of practice.

"We are going to do them back-to-back like we have always done," Hawthorne said. "We will get them out of here around lunch or 1 p.m. We will ease them into practices with three weeks before the first game so we feel like we have time.

"The first four days will be a lot of learning and then Friday will be working on proper technique with the pads on. We won't be working on game plan for the scrimmage. It just matters that we get better at what we are doing during practice."

The Trojans will once again be inexperienced in some areas, according to Hawthorne, and he hopes the players will adjust quickly to their new roles.

"Our biggest group right now is our sophomores and we have about 15 kids that are out for practice," he said. "We started several freshmen last year and they have worked out every day the doors have been open this summer. The other kids will have to work their way into practice.

"We want to keep kids healthy. I have never come into a year with this many kids beat up. Hopefully, all of this pays off and I want to get out of two-a-days with the kids feeling good about themselves and staying healthy."

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