Spanish Springs opened official practice Thursday morning, and the Cougars knew immediately there was business at hand.
“There are a little more butterflies because all of a sudden you start to realize you’re about ready to play in a week,” SSHS football coach Scott Hare said. “Once you get the pads on, you start going ‘whoa we’re going to play somebody.’ During the summer if you have a bad day, you kind of run through the same stuff the next day. We have a practice plan now that if you have a bad period, it slows you down.”
Teams had the option to start practice Saturday, but most, including all three Sparks schools chose to retain their original schedules and started Thursday.
Spanish Springs will have eight days of practice before it hosts a scrimmage against Carson at 10 a.m. Aug. 18th. The Cougars will open the regular season against Bishop Manogue Aug. 24th at home. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
So there isn’t much time for teams to get ready. And while it was just the first official practice for the Cougs Thursday, Hare knows his team needs to pick up the pace.
“It was good. It was a little slower than we would have liked,“ he said. “It was the first day in helmets. The tempo will pick up, and the kids will get used to the helmets and how they feel. The kids are excited and we’re excited. They’re trying as hard as they can, but we do need to pick up the tempo a little bit.”
Fifty-two players came out for the varsity squad this year, a similar number to years past.
But there will be a change this year in the Cougars program.
“We’ll be much more spread out and much more high-tempo in how we do things,” Hare said. “We have the personnel and the skill players to be able to do that this year. We’re going to try to take advantage of that.”
Hare has been on the sidelines since 2006 for the Purple and Silver. And while he is comfortable in his routine of getting his players ready for the season, it doesn’t get easier as time goes by.
“It’s the same. We make some tweaks. We’re not coaching a pro team. I’m not Belichick with the same core of three or four guys. I’ve got a whole new team every year, everybody does,” Hare said. “Even though you’ve got juniors coming back. The whole feel of it changes. Every year feels so different from the year before. You’re really just trying to get these guys to mesh together and find out who belongs where.”