Owens sends players through "Wildcat Maker" tackling drill to bring more intensity to practices
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
Aug. 13, 2007 - Greg Owens wasn't pleased with the intensity he saw from the Sulphur Springs Wildcats this morning, so he turned them loose on Blood Alley.
Also known as the Hamburger Drill or Wildcat Maker, the tackling drill is always one of the highlights of full contact practice. It pits a defender against a blocker and a ball carrier in a tight corridor. Whoever walks away is the winner.
It's a good way to put some emotion into a practice, and the SSHS head coach said the team needed the jolt after a lackluster start to the early morning practice.
"The Wildcat Maker was good this morning - it got their juices flowing." Owens said. "We've still got to learn to play at a high level. We're not there yet.
"I know it's the coach's expectation versus the second day of pads, but still we've got to be a little more emotional when we come out. We've got to get after it, and we're not getting that yet."
When the players got into the tackling drill, Owens saw a different side to them - a side he liked.
"When it was time to get it on, they got it on. It was like turning the lights on," Owens explained. "We had some good kids battle and get in some big hits, some great runs, some good blocks. I was excited about that.
"But, we get back into that practice mode when we get out of that setting. I don't know if we're just gamers or what, I hope so. But, it kind of scares me right now that we're not at the level we need to be."
He added that the Cats may continue to go through the Wildcat Maker until they carry that same type of intensity into the rest of practice. The players participated in a lot of individual drills last week, but Owens will start including more team scrimmage sessions to get them focused.
"The next couple of days we'll come back out and put them in more of a game setting and kind of scrimmage-like setting for 10 or 15 minutes, and say, 'OK, this is game speed. Everything's wide open, everything's live,' " Owens said. "We'll see if we can start generating some emotion doing it that way."
The Wildcats' varsity and JV practice together, and there will be a lot of young faces on varsity this year, but Owens said the players have to be able to process the plays and react with some intensity.
"I know a lot is going through their minds. We've got a lot of young kids we're trying to train, so they're thinking a lot right now," he said. "We're still trying to be simple in the things we're doing. But, I think if our emotion level picks up, I think our execution will pick up a little bit too."