EARLY — The fourth season of Blake Sandford's coaching tenure at Early began Monday morning with 65 Longhorns attending the initial practice of the season.
Coming off a 3-7 campaign, Early's best record under Sandford thus far, and with much of the coaching staff back from last season, the Longhorns are off to a quick start.
“As far as energy level, I thought the kids were really diving in to what we were doing,” Sandford said. “It makes it a lot easier when you don't have as much teaching to do and you have a lot more doing than teaching. The kids were flying around. They got a little tired at the end, but we'd been out there a while. But it was just a great first start to this journey that we're on.
The Longhorns don pads for the first time Friday, and between now and then additional scheme installation and sorting out personnel are among the main objectives.
“Offensively we'll have everything installed by Thursday,” Sandford said. “Defensively, we're still working on all of our run fits and our rotation in pass coverage with our secondary. Then we'll work on our special teams and get all our special teams personnel.”
Asked about any first-day surprises, Sandford said, “the number of balls that were caught today offensively and the speed of our players. We're going for scores every time in practice. I thought the coaches did a great job making sure there wasn't any standing around where just one guy is throwing and catching. We got multiple balls in the air with all of our RPO stuff, so we're getting some reads, throw, runs and catches.
“On defense, I was really pleased with the way our D-line performed, they were really getting after it. We had some young guys getting after it at the linebacker positions. It was really nice to see. We have a veteran secondary so we're not going to get too many balls thrown on us in practice, today anyway.”
The Longhorns will host Goldthwaite in scrimmage action on Aug. 17, then tangle with Reagan County on Aug. 23 at Old Bobcat Stadium in San Angelo.