Marlow coach Rob Renshaw is the only returning coach, while Bray-Doyle coach Lee Bluejacket and Central High coach Keith Burton are starting from scratch.
Teams have been in shorts and helmets after the first two days with one more day to go before they can put on the pads. Still, the coaches have been able to get their teams headed in the right direction.
MarlowA year in Renshaw’s system has made a big difference in the early going for the Outlaws.
“I’ve been really pleased,” Renshaw said. “Our guys’ attitudes have been great. Not having any pads on, it has been a different kind of practice. It’s a lot of fundaments; a lot of teaching and learning, but our guys have done a great job picking it up.
“It helps being in the system for a year, and a lot of the little things we’re not having to teach from a terminology standpoint, so I’ve been really, really pleased with the guys and their effort.”
The coaches are still evaluating their talent to find the best fit for their players.
“Evaluating talent is always an ongoing process, but there are a lot of things that we like” Renshaw said. “We’ve only had three practices up to this point, and just our second offensive practice, so we’re still trying to learn what the guys can do, and find out where we can use them the best.”
Marlow will be looking for a new quarterback this year and the early candidates are junior Nick Yates and sophomore Braeden O’Dell.
“They’re learning,” Renshaw said. “They didn’t get a lot of reps last year game-wise, so they are learning. They make mistakes, but make them going a hundred miles an hour. The mistakes they are making, everything is correctable. It’s not from an effort standpoint.”
Bray-Doyle“Things have been very, very good,” Bluejacket said. “We’ve had 27 guys out and we think we will get a few more, and from what I’ve heard, it is most Bray’s had in a long time.”
The Donkeys started early having their first practice at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.
“We’ve been going hard since the first practice and we haven’t lost a single player,” Bluejacket said. “They’ve really impressed me. The past four years they’ve gone 1-9, 1-9, 0-10, 0-10, and they look like that. They are excited.”
Despite having a new coach, Bray-Doyle is picking up the new coach’s system.
“They are starting off quick and doing things right,” Bluejacket said. “They are taking each step and coming along.”
The Donkeys are already learning Bluejacket’s unorthodox defense – the 3-5-3.
“We can do a lot of things with it,” the coach said. “We can walk up linebackers and have a four-man, five-man, and six-man fronts. It a real exciting defense. I’ve had people come up who have been watching and wonder what we’re doing out there.”
On offense, they are installing the pistol.
“I’m a defensive guy, but we’re doing well on offense, too,” Bluejacket said. “I’d like to be able to run double-tight formations and just run over people, but we can’t do that, so we’re spreading people out and using the pistol. We’ve got some speed. We’ve got five guys on offense who can make a move and be off to races.”
The team is already setting high goals.
“I think we will be better than they have in the past, and I hope the record shows that,” Bluejacket said. “Our goal is to reach the playoffs. I think the last time Bray-Doyle went was in 2005, but the team goal is to make the playoffs.”
Central High“I’ve been pretty pleased with the first two days,” Burton said. “Things have been going pretty smooth. The players are paying attention to what we want to do. The players have been very coachable. We like what we have seen.”
Like most teams this time of year, the Bronchos have been busy working with fundamentals.
“I’m very strong on fundamentals,” Burton said. “We’ve been doing as much as we can being limited without pads, but we’re walking through things. We’re using the time to teach and learn. So far, things have been going well.”