WILLIAMSTOWN -Just like clockwork, Williamstown football coach Terry Smith and his staff directed Wednesday morning's practice without a hitch.
"After we finished practice, I looked at my watch and it read 9:16 - usually we are here until 9:45," Smith said.
When players are showing a lack of hustle, Smith has the team run sprints. That was not the case at this particular session.
Photo by?Kerry Patrick
Williamstown assistant coach Scott Moore, left, gives instructions to one of his players during Wednesday morning’s practice at the high school.
"I think we've done well - I'm impressed," Smith added. "In that three-week period during the summer, we get a lot of things covered. So this is more of a review."
Since players are practicing without pads, Smith is waiting to complete his evaluation on personnel until teams are allowed to start full-contact. Once in a while, a player performs well in T-shirts and shorts then it's a different story when hitting begins.
"Or maybe somebody doesn't look great right now, but they are going to be aggressive," Smith said.
The Yellowjackets are looking to extend their postseason deeper than they have the past two years when they have been eliminated in the second round. They open the regular season at home with back-to-back home games against Tyler Consolidated (Aug. 26) and Magnolia (Sept. 2).
"We would like to go further in the playoffs, but first we have to take care of Friday nights," Smith said.
Unfortunately, this year appears as though it's not going to be any different for head coach Bucky Stewart.
Currently, the Titans have spent the opening week of practice with just 19 players on the roster.
"We've had good practices and the kids' attitudes are wonderful," Stewart said. "We've got about 10 or 11 sophomores. We only have four seniors and two juniors.
"We had six kids (two starting linemen and the starting quarterback among them) that should've been playing and four of them have moved and two of them have decided not to play."
Coach Stewart added that the boys are, "working their tails off, but that's just devastating to us. We have to see if we can survive the season without getting hurt. It hurts in a single-A school, especially in Gilmer County, when you lose six kids like that."
When asked to evaluate his team's progress following his first practice on Monday the former-Mountaineer football player explained, "Football without pads is not football. Until we put pads on and actually strike a blow, tackle, block and stuff like that, it's not football. This is like playing baseball with no bat or baseball."
Miller has 15 retunees including five or six starters back from last year, when Federal's lone win was over another 1-9 team in Belpre.
Miller wants ''to put pride back'' into the Federal football program. ''What I'm trying to do is change the mindset of the boys so they have confidencve in themselves.''