Cloudy Sky: Wildcats get tongue-lashing after ‘sluggish’ practice

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

Aug. 11, 2008 - Everything seemed ripe for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats to have a great practice on Monday morning.

The sky were overcast which kept the temperature low, there was a slight breeze and the players had the weekend to rest and get re-energized. Everything seemed in place.

But, it just wasn't happening. At least not in head coach Greg Owens' eyes.

When the players gathered for their mid-morning break, Owens made it clear that he expected more than what he witnessed for the last 2 1/2 hours from a team that has as much talent and experience as the Wildcats. He didn't see enough hitting from the defense and enough execution from the offense.

Mostly, though, he was not happy with the lack of enthusiasm and spirit from the players.

The Wildcats put pads on for the first time Friday morning, and after an abbreviated workout, they had Saturday and Sunday to rest and get ready to start the second week of practice. But, despite that, the players acted sluggishly, Owens told them.

He gave them an ultimatum to get it corrected before they took the field again at 10:30 a.m.

HITTING ALLOWED - One of the bright spots of the practice was the hitting of senior linebacker Diquence Morris. He is expected to be a major factor on special teams. ... Owens linked how much the team would run to how many field goals three kickers could make. With Colby Suggs snapping and Jace Jackson holding, the kickers - Austin Brewer, Fernando Arellano and Rodrigo Larios - made 6-of-9.

SPECIAL UNIT - The Wildcats also worked on their extra points, two-point conversions and short yardage "Bulls" formation. ... Two defensive starters, tackle Ryan Miller and linebacker Dillon Verner, were being held out of contact drills due to bumps and bruises.

GETTING OFFENSIVE - In the team offense segment of practice, wide receiver Shane McQueen caught one TD, Bryant "Day Day" Jackson ripped off a long run after a short catch, and running back Ryan Young continued to shine. Offensive tackle Jake Russell smashed his way into the end zone in the short yardage offense. ... However, coaches were not happy with the frequency that the ball hit the ground. That should become less frequent as the players get used to protecting the ball while taking a lick.

WEEK'S END - The Wildcats will host Greenville Saturday morning in a scrimmage for the varsity, JV and freshmen. Details should be worked out early this week, but it is tentatively set to begin at 8 a.m. with the varsity squads. The JV and freshmen will go simultaneously on opposite ends of the field at about 10:30. ... Photo day is Friday at Gerald Prim Stadium. The JV and freshmen will have photos made in the morning and the varsity in the afternoon, about 5 p.m.

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