With a heat index in the mid-to-upper 80s, the Manchester Greyhound football team doesn’t seem to be letting the heat drag them down during two-a-day practices.
The Greyhounds fields a team of around 43 players, and despite the heat, they looked fast Tuesday morning.
“We’ve got a lot of skill kids who are returning,” Manchester head coach Dustin Cook said. “I think with our experience that we finally have, with the work ethic that we have, our speed, and the fact that we’ve got more big guys this year that’ll help us up front I think that’s going to set the tempo of our play and hopefully lead us to be extremely successful.”
Cook says the large number of kids putting on the blue and gold this year will be a big factor in favor of the Greyhounds not just on Friday nights, but for years in the future.
“[Depth is a] huge factor,” Cook said. “Not only at the varsity level but for the program in general because not only will we be able to have depth on Friday nights but now our young guys instead of just getting all their reps in practice can play in a JV game and get game reps there.”
Cook also said he’s seen a stronger discipline from his team than he has in years past. He attributes that to a stability within the program of seeing guys rise up from junior high to the varsity team.
“[Our discipline comes from] the seniors we’ve got in the locker room being here for four years,” Cook said. “This is my fourth year here and this is the first year here we’ve had multiple seniors that have been in the program at least four years. In years before it was a few guys that had been there for one year, two years, three years. Having the same faces around in the locker room makes a huge difference.”
With the fast-paced offense Cook plans to run this year, the Greyhounds have been able to get most of their preseason conditioning done while running their offense.
“With the tempo of our practices we mainly try to get all of our conditioning in practice because we try to go so fast,” Cook said. “And then we’ll run just a little bit after just to make sure we’re in shape because we do want to go so fast.”
As of this moment, there’s still no contact drills being done, but that will change come Friday as the Greyhounds prepare for their intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday at 10 a.m.
“OHSAA rules state our contact can’t start until later in the week,” Cook said. “Thursday we’ll be able to put on shoulder pads, Friday we’re finally able to put on full pads where we can do a little bit more and then Saturday will be our scrimmage. We’re getting there, it’s exciting. For some I know they’re ready to put the pads on and get after it.”
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391, firstname.lastname@example.org or @WUDefender on Twitter.