E.A. Sports Today

Back to it

Second wave of high school teams get back on the field for summer workouts, first contact since March
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
The first thing Chandler Tyree wanted to do this morning when he saw his White Plains football players for the first time since March was give them one big collective hug.

Of course, that was against the current rules of humanity so he just had to be content with seeing them face-to-face for the first time in three months.
The Wildcats, Wellborn and several other high school football teams in Calhoun County joined the second wave of teams that reopened offseason practice Monday as the sports world begins coming out of its coronavirus hibernation.
White Plains players like Carson Wright got a double dose of activity on his first official day back. His day started with about an hour of ball-handling and shooting drills – two players to a goal – with the Wildcats’ basketball team. Then it was on to the weight room for some light lifting, one player to a station.
“It felt good to be back with the team,” said Wright, a rising senior guard on the basketball team and a linebacker/fullback on the gridiron. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t think we’d be able to do a lot, but we did. Everybody’s been looking good, in shape. We looked like we actually worked out in the summer.”
There were no masks in sight, but plenty of social distancing. Wright said if the players did break the safety protocols they’d be wearing masks soon enough.
“I want to tell them I love them and give them a hug, you can’t do that,” Tyree said. “Right now our first move is to shoot them with a thermometer and make sure they park in the right location.
“The biggest thing for us is to explain we’ve got to do this the right way – this isn’t a joke – and let them know we missed the mess out of y’all but we’ve got to do it the safe way to be able to continue to do it.
“I’m thrilled to see them and I’m hoping we can pick up where we left off and continue to build those relationships and get to know them better and hopefully impact their lives. … I want to do everything in my power to bring a winning football team to that community.”
They haven’t had one of those in a while. The Wildcats have made only one playoff appearance in school history (1994) and had only one winning season since (2003). They last were .500 in 2013. They were 3-7 last year, dropping their last four games after a 3-3 start.
“We didn’t finish on games,” Tyree said. “We’ve got to learn how to finish and built some depth with summer workouts, and be smart about it. I personally don’t believe the way to do it is try to go out and see how much they’ve been working. We need to ease back into it and not do anything stupid.
“I want us to be tougher than anybody we play, but to a point. It’s not responsible by me to go out and put them through grueling workouts the first couple days. After the first week we can kind of see where we’re at and work towards that and get stronger. I believe the first week for everybody should be feeling it out.”
The Wildcats went into the restart a bit shorthanded than their counterparts. They lost their offensive coordinator, Brad Yarbrough, due to a county system policy prohibiting hourly employees from serving as coaches.
Tyree, who enters his second season as the Wildcats’ head coach, will call the offense in the fall. Clay Sprayberry is the defensive coordinator. Wes Henderson also will work with the offense and basketball coach Chris Randall is helping out with summer workouts. The AHSAA recommendation is one supervisor for every 12 athletes in a group.
“We’re just kind of plugging away and doing what we can,” Tyree said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure our kids can be successful.
“I think the guys we’ve got are going to work hard and do what they’ve got to do to make sure we can be successful. As a head coach that’s all I can really ask for.”

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