Season of Change at C-P: Eagles look for turnaround with new head coach, new committment

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Aug. 30, 2007 - COMO - The upcoming season brings many changes to the Como-Pickton Eagles football team with new coaches and a new determination under first-year coach Paul Tullis.

Tullis was an assistant last year under coach Joe Ryzman, who is now an assistant at Lindale.

With the change in coaches, the Eagles have readjusted the staff with coaches Ryan Aguirre and Kent Richey taking on new assignments.

"We only have one new coach as far as coaches go and that is Travis Woods. He is going to coach the junior high and serve as our trainer as well," Tullis said. "Coach (Dustin) Carr moved up from the junior high and will be a varsity assistant and junior varsity offensive coordinator. Coach Aguirre is now the offensive coordinator and Coach Richey is the defensive coordinator."

After an 0-10 record last year, the Eagles came into the offseason determined to change things and showed signs of improvement during the 7-on-7 summer league hosted by Sulphur Springs.

With a record of 8-0 in the junior varsity bracket of the league, Tullis said the team gained patience throughout the summer even though they will not be running that offense this season.

"The spirit that they had and the enthusiasm that they played with out there was great," the coach said. "It is not our offense that we will be running, but the patience was big for us. Secondary-wise, it helped us out a lot with the zone concept during the games."

He said the players worked hard during the offseason and took what they learned from last year into the workouts to get better as a team.

"I think the main thing are the kids, and they feel like they underachieved in some games last year," the coach said. "We talked about that a lot during the offseason where we had three games with the ball at the end with a chance to score and we were not able to do that.

"We worked on the little things and made sure that we do things right. They want to make sure that they don't go winless again this year and they are working on themselves this offseason."

The Eagles return quarterbacks Austin Darby and Noe Tellez along with running back James Carter for the upcoming season.

"The skill positions are going to be real good. We have both of our quarterbacks and they bring something different to the offense," Tullis explained. "Noe is the more physical running-type guy and Austin is more of our passing-type kid. The thing about Austin is is he is such a good competitor and he is a winner.

"James has really grown up a lot. He is really looking good at practice and is really quick. He has great vision and has done a good job finding the holes and getting up in there real quick."

The Eagles will be more of a running team this year with Carter, Brandt Steele and Aaron Kramer, but will be using the passing game as well with receivers Phillip Cox, Ryan Carpenter and Juan Batista.

"We are going to be very patient offensively and try to make the game short and run the ball a lot," Tullis said. "We are going to find ways to move the sticks and get that 80 yards on good running plays."

With only 22 players on the varsity squad this year, Tullis said the coaching staff is once again worried about injuries but filling the spots will be key to keeping things smooth.

"We are short at lineman with only eight lineman at this point in time. They are going to have to play a lot most games and that is where we are the weakest," the coach said.

"I think we will be able to fill the spots if injuries occur. Right now, we have three backup lineman and that is the most difficult spots. Our starting offensive line will be rotating on the defensive line this season."

The District 16-2A run will once again be a tough set of games for the Eagles with perennial favorite Winnsboro back to defend its title along with Quitman, Grand Saline, Hawkins and Alba-Golden in a fight for the top three spots to get into postseason play.

Tullis said he expects to see some interesting things out of the district race this year.

"I think it will be a good close district this year," he said. "I think Winnsboro has more kids and they are used to playing in Class 3A so that gives them more of an advantage. They have a lot of speed and Quitman has a lot of numbers and good size and they do a good job every year."

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