C-P workouts headed in the right direction; 45-50 players suit up on first day

By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer

Aug. 5, 2008 - COMO - Following a 3-7 season in coach Paul Tullis' first-year at the helm, the Como-Pickton Eagles suited up 45-to-50 players for the start of UIL-sanctioned two-a-day football practices Monday morning at the CPHS practice fields.

CPHS opened practices at 8 a.m. Monday and will workout until 1 p.m. every day for the next three weeks prior to the start of school Aug. 25.

Tullis said workouts are headed in the right direction as the Eagles look to contend for a playoff spot in District 13-2A.

"We were a little rusty at first when we went to the team offense, but I think after that they got back in the flow of the offense," the coach said. "We ran everything pretty much like we were supposed to run it, so I am pretty happy with where we are at right now."

With a district schedule that includes Caddo Mills, Lone Oak, Winnsboro, Cooper, Quitman, Grand Saline and Alba-Golden, Tullis knows every day in practice needs to be sharp if they want to achieve their goals this season.

"We are getting ready for the district this year and our goal is to try and win every single game this year," he said. "The district did get a lot stronger with Caddo Mills, Lone Oak and Cooper coming in, so we are setting the foundation for what we are going to do later in the season."

The big keys for the Eagles are the size of the offensive and defensive line as Hayden Howard, Dylan Mowat, Lance Tate, Zach Hankins, Cole Boseman, Matthew Shelton and Robert Carden look to open holes for their running backs.

"The offensive line and defensive line is going to be our strongest point next season and we have some big kids on the team," the coach said. "We are going to stress to those kids that this is their time to make the blocks and not depend on someone else to do it this year."

With the first four days of workouts set for non-contact drills, the offense is working on perfecting the veer offense as senior signal-caller Austin Darby will lead the offense.

"We are working on polishing everything during these first four days," the coach said. "When we came in last year, we came in learning a whole new offense and I felt like we came in this year and had a pretty good grasp of it coming out of the spring workouts. This year, we know what we are doing and we are going to run a lot more of the veer stuff that we got into at the end of the year last year."

With temperatures in the upper 80s-to-100-degrees, the coaching staff is making sure the players are getting plenty of water breaks and making sure injuries do not become a factor in practices.

"We have not done a whole lot of running yet to see how their conditioning is," he said. "We are going to do that after our 10-minute break every day and see how they do since most of the guys look pretty decent right now. We are looking real good in terms of injuries as no one has any injuries right now and we are hoping that we stay that way."

The Eagles will have their first scrimmage of the year Aug. 16 at Prairiland, before hosting Gilmer Union Hill Aug. 21. Both scrimmages are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

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