SSHS coaches go to retreat to prepare for season

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

July 27, 2008 - Sulphur Springs coaches will get away for a few days next week to get prepared for the four-month grind ahead of them.

Wildcat coaches, from both the high school and middle school, will convene to a retreat in Arkansas next week to get organized and ready for the football season, which opens at 7 a.m. Monday, Aug. 4.

"This gives us a chance to get organized again, get away from telephones and distractions and finish finalizing our scripts for two-a-days," said SSHS head coach Greg Owens. "We want to make sure every coach is on the same page. We've got a few new guys with us, so we've got to make sure all those guys are on the same page."

During their three-day retreat, the coaches will decide which plays to run in practice, update their depth charts and script the workouts.

Beginning Aug. 4, varsity and JV players will report at 6:30 a.m. each morning so they will be on the field by 7 a.m. The first practice session will run until about 9:30, then the players will have an hour break to eat a sandwich or snack and re-energize for the second session, which will go from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Freshmen will have one long session, from 9 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.

"In the morning, the practice is a little bit more drill-oriented, more movement and more upbeat because they're fresh," Owens explained. "In the second session, it's more a slow-down teaching time, putting on blitz packages and those sorts of things."

Most schools have gone to the concept of having two sessions back-to-back to give the players more time to recover and to allow them to continue with summer jobs, if needed.

"I like this better than the old school days, which we had to do my first year here because of inservice," Owens explained. "Now, this lets the kids go home and have the rest of the afternoon to themselves - coaches too. We get out of here about 4 or 5 o'clock and at least have some evening time before we have to be back out here at 5:30 the next morning."

Most of the varsity/JV players have been going through The Edge four days a week through most of the summer. Last week, the players tested their gains in strength and speed. Then, they have this week off before practice starts.

"We had a great summer," Owens said. "We're fixing to update our board with speed gains and strength gains. There's a buzz, there's an excitement, there's a commitment level that I don't know that I've seen.

"It was great last year, and these guys have picked that up and carried it on. Now, we've got to see if they can perform at the same level. But, as far as strength and conditioning and speed, we're right there and maybe even a little above last year."

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