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Basic training
Pioneer football teams focus on fundamentals
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Talk to Warren County High School football coach Tommy Johnson and Warren County Middle School football coach Donnie Harris and you’ll think there is an echo.
During the first week of spring practice, both coaches are wanting to get back to the basics.
“We want the guys to learn what we’re going to be doing and get caught up to speed,” said Johnson. “We want the guys to be where they’re reacting and playing football.”
Likewise, coach Harris is taking it slow as the first-year coach works with several new football players.
“We spent most of the week working on individual fundamentals and installing the drills we use to develop them,” said Harris. “The kids are working hard and paying attention. It’s gone very well considering how many of them there are and how much teaching and demonstrating we have to do early on.”
Coach Johnson’s concern the first week was trying to install the concepts of the team’s new offense and defense. After three years of using the spread, coach Johnson has started basing his offense on the power-I formation. Coach Johnson also plans to incorporate a 50 defense instead of using variations of the 4-3 and other multiple defenses from last year.
In just one week, coach Johnson feels like his team has grasped the basics and is enjoying the new looks.
“The kids seem to love the new formations and are very comfortable with them,” said Johnson. “We’re keeping it basic until we can get our full roster on the field.”
Coach Johnson has seen around 40 players at each day of practice, but hopes the number increases this week as players finish with spring sports. Coach Johnson is optimistic about having close to 60 players.
Numbers are not a concern for coach Harris at the middle school. During last week’s session, coach Harris estimates there were between 70-80 players at each practice and more than 100 kids attended at least one practice.
Being the third coach in three years at WCMS, coach Harris credits the foundation laid before him for the ability to attract so many players.
“The numbers have been great and we think we’ve got some potential out there. It looks like we’ve got a good combination of size and speed,” said Harris. “Adam Wood and Greg Cotten were great at getting the word out at the middle school for us and I appreciate all the county school principals for letting me come talk to their students.”
Coach Harris used the first week of practice teaching the basics in hopes of getting the players ready for some team drills this week. Coach Harris says the individual position drills will also continue as spring practice enters its final week.
Spring practice comes to a close this Friday and coach Johnson and his WCHS team will give fans a chance to see the team in action for the first time. The Pioneers will conclude spring practice with a scrimmage Friday against Watertown High School. The scrimmage will be held at WCHS on the practice field and will start at 5 p.m.