E.A. Sports Today

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2 new county coaches hit the field with their teams for the first time

By Al Muskewitz

East Alabama Sports Today


WHITE PLAINS – Larry Strain had to go back some 15 years to remember the last time he had a first official day of practice with a new team.


But he does know what the first day of any practice is all about and assessing the first day of camp with his new White Plains team Monday he said it couldn’t have gone better.


Strain put the Wildcats through two sessions in shorts on the first day of official practice. There was a lot of teaching and a lot of running.


“What we had to teach was a lot of hustle,” he said. “It was a lot of new stuff for our kids to learn in everything we did and I think they responded very well.


“It was a real enjoyable day for me. The kids seemed excited. I really don’t know if we could’ve had a better day than what we had. It was about as good a first day as I can remember.”


Strain wasn’t the only coach in Calhoun County putting a new team through its paces Monday. Scott Martin had his first day with Ohatchee.


Elsewhere around the county, Saks and Alexandria both hit the field early Monday morning. Jacksonville went out after taking pictures and Oxford and JCA went out in the afternoon. Donoho opened its camp remotely in Pisgah.


Because the first day was only in shorts, Strain and his staff spent the day teaching and installing pieces of the kicking game “so I can use my days in pads wisely.” The Wildcats worked on punt returns, punt team, extra points and field goals. At first blush, Michael Singleton has the early lead on kicks and extra points, while Caleb Turner will be punting.


Strain only had his charges nine days in the spring, so it’s been a hectic transition. He has installed a new way to practice, new terminology and taken the Wildcats from a ball-control to a spread. He said the players have made “constant improvement since Day One.”


The big test now will be Tuesday when the Wildcats go through an early one-a-day practice after a  busy first day. They practice in pads for the first time Thursday.


“We ran them pretty good; the big question mark is how many show back up,” Strain said. “It’s obvious we gassed them pretty good, (but) it’s obvious there were several kids who bought into it in a hurry.


“I talked to them about it today. I promised them it wasn’t going to be easy, but anything you accomplish, if it’s worth having, nothing is going to be easy. I was real pleased today with the way our kids responded.”

Al Muskewitz is Content Editor/Senior Writer of East Alabama Sports Today. He can be reached at musky@wrightmediacorp.com and followed on Twitter @easportstoday1.


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