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Starting the right way
Coaches stress proper mindset as offseason football practice begins
WCHS assistant football coach David Upton has words with the team during a break last season. The 2017 high school team begins limited offseason practice on Monday, May 1 for 10 practices in 15 consecutive school days, per TSSAA rules.

Although they won’t be taking the field at Nunley Stadium under the lights until Friday, Aug. 19, when the WCHS Pioneer football team plays host to DeKalb County, there will be some action in and around the practice field beginning Monday, May 1.
While there won’t be a scrimmage game against another school this year, the WCHS coaches will have their hands full indoctrinating a fresh batch of soldiers to the gridiron and meshing existing talent to make one team with one mission … win ballgames.
“There is really only one way to do things and that is the right way,” said Warren County head football coach Tom Moore, who has been working hard in the offseason preparing for the first three weeks in May. “Shortcuts don’t work. There are many things which we have no control over, like what district we play in or who is on our schedule. It is a complete waste of time worrying about things over which we have no control. But we can control our attitude. We can control our commitment, and as coaches we can control how hard we work.”
The TSSAA, which regulates the rules for playing high school football in Tennessee, allows 10 days of off-season practice, within a 15-day consecutive school period. TSSAA defines offseason as beginning with the school’s elimination from postseason tournament play in a particular sport and concludes with the end of the school year. Practice is still limited to scrimmage-type drills, not wearing a football helmet or pads.
Coaches can interact with players, teach fundamental skills and drills, and organize players into their roles according to their skills sets. This is different than open facilities during the summer where players can come voluntarily to lift weights and other general type physical fitness exercises without any coaching interaction.
“Our offseason program has been the best in my three years,” Moore said. “In my opinion, we have made progress because we have really improved in the area of accountability. This has translated into better attendance and a better overall attitude. We have lost some boys but we have also picked up some who can see that we are becoming a good organization. No one wants to be a part of a poor organization.”
Coach Moore has held meetings with student-athletes in schools like Warren County Middle School, has had meetings with parents and prospective players, and basically recruited players encouraging other athletes with complimentary skills sets to go out for the football team. Now, with the first three weeks in May, coach Moore and his staff will have the opportunity to take the next step in developing the 2017 team.
“I think the boys who come in as freshmen will see our kids and coaches have a winning attitude,” Moore said.
Moore said despite not having a scrimmage with another school, the Pioneers will most likely have an inter-squad scrimmage on the last day of offseason practice.

WCHS Football 2017 schedule

Aug. 18 DeKalb County 7:00 p.m.
Aug. 25 White County 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 1 Cookeville* 7:00 p.m.

Sept. 8 Shelbyville 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 15 Coffee County* 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 22 Siegel* 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 29 Blackman* 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 6 Fayetteville 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 13 Fall Break - open week 
Oct. 20  Riverdale* 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 27 Oakland* 7:00 p.m.

* = region game
Home games in bold