Watching the quarterbacks throw passes on the Brownwood High School practice field, third-year Lions athletic director and head football coach Sammy Burnett critiqued their work.
"You want to go right to your front leg … load … still want to see you load your hips … want to see those hips turned just a little bit," Burnett called out. "Get your weight to the back … You’ve got to be able to load those hips. You’ve got to be able to cock that gun and then go … and then drive that back leg, and there’s your velocity."
Coming off last year’s 11-2 season, Burnett and the coaching staff are working this summer to get a young Lions squad ready for fall football.
Burnett said he’s doing well after having a recent follow-up procedure to the emergency abdominal surgery he underwent last November.
"I’m doing better," Burnett said. "I’ve got five more weeks till I’m fully recovered, but I’m taking it slow, doing what I’m supposed to. God’s good. He’s taking care of me. I’m doing well."
Burnett said he likes what he’s seeing in the 175 to 180 athletes who are participating in summer workouts.
"Our numbers our great, kids have great attitudes, they’re coming out here working to get better at what they do — trying to get in shape, get their strength back and also having the ability to do our hour’s work of sports specific stuff," Burnett said. "We’re trying to get some schemes in and they’re picking it up well."
After COVID interrupted school in the spring, Burnett said it’s his "hope and prayer that we get back to normal in August."
" I feel that’s what the governor and UIL and everybody’s trying to do, to where when we start the school year we’re back to normal," Burnett said. I know there are a bunch more outbreaks of the corona but hopefully we’ll be able to get back in August to full force. There’s ideas flying around about how they’re going to do going to games, and I really try not to worry about that because it’s out of my control.
"My prayer is that they allow people to make their own choice and go to games if they want to because I think that’s good for the soul. It gives people something to look forward to. It’s excitement, and when joy’s in your heart, your body seems to respond well to that.
"I know in Brownwood, Texas, people look forward to Friday night games, so I hope that we’re able to do that and they don’t put any limitations on us. There’s a chance that they could limit the number of people in the stadium and that kind of stuff so we’ll just have to wait and see what the governor and UIL come up with."
Burnett said the athletes will be behind a little because of losing the spring. "But I think with the UIL giving us more time to work out sport-specific during the summer, which is a drastic change from last summer, I think that will help us get caught up," Burnett said.
"Our big focus is getting kids back in cardiovascular shape and get that muscular strength so they don’t have don’t have bodily injury. That’s big for football especially. Our kids are working hard and our numbers are great, and I think we’ll be caught up by August. The rest is just getting the mental part, to be able to perform on the court or on the field."
Burnett said the team will be young this fall, but said there are viable candidates to step up and fill the spots of the players who graduated.
"We may take our lumps early," Burnett said. "We have an extremely difficult schedule, which is on purpose. We feel that if you want to be the best, you’ve got to play the best. We’ll start off week 1 with Lampasas, who’s projected to play in the state championship against La Vega. We’ll go over there and do what we can, but I think our culture is great.
"I think our kids embrace each other and love each other and that’s the culture we want. They work hard together and I think that can overcome some lack of knowledge or being able to play at the level that they’re going to be asked to play at. But I think that by the time district gets here we’ll have a pretty solid football team."