Striving To Be Perfect: After 'best first day,' Wildcats ready to work on the details

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Aug. 5, 2008 - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats set the bar pretty high in their first day of football practice yesterday. Now, they're working on being perfect.

The Wildcats continued their two-a-day practices on Tuesday, going from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., taking an hour break, then resuming from 10:30 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.

The Wildcats were crisp on Monday, and it carried over to today, said Greg Owens, who is entering his third year as SSHS head coach.

"After 17 years of coaching, yesterday was the best first day I've ever had, as far as retention of kids, knowing what to do, and jumping right in there," Owens said. "The knowledge level is there.

"Everybody understands what we're doing now after three years. Now, we're trying to fine tune and everybody try to be perfect. We're not going to be perfect, but that's our goal."

The key, Owens explained, is that the players bought into the program in the spring and continued to work during The Edge summer conditioning program. Instead of spending valuable time trying to get players in shape, coaches can devote their energy to teaching and instructing.

"Typically, if kids aren't committed in the summer and don't come in in-shape, then you're emphasis is getting in shape, don't be tired, and they don't listen - they're just trying to survive. We're past that point right now, for 90 percent of them," Owens said. "Now, we're doing the little things.

"We're kind of a veteran squad in a lot of areas so we can hone in and make sure every move is perfect. We're able right now, because we're in shape for the most part, and because these guys know what we're doing, we're able to coach the details and fine tune those things."

Seven new faces were on the field for the varsity/JV practice this morning and there are at least two more players who are out of town and will be in later this week. For every missed practice, players have to do conditioning work to make up for their absences.

Players have been getting fitted for shoulder pads this week so they will be ready to go for the first full-pad workout on Friday morning.

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