Next crop of footballers begin season at NFL Football Camp
By TJ MAXWELL
Vacations are over, school is around the corner and it’s time for the work to kick back into high gear.
With summer quickly nearly its end and the 2017 fall sports season rapidly approaching, it’s time for the Copperas Cove ISD coaching staff to get themselves and a few hundred up-and-comers ready for the 2017 campaign.
The camp gives coaches an opportunity to see what the next crop has to offer after their summer spurt and camp director, Jeff Shannon, likes what he’s seeing.
“This is a very talented class of kids,” said Shannon Thursday at the conclusion of day four. “We’ve got guys that can throw and catch, we’ve got good speed, we’ve got some decent linemen and good size. All the things that you’re looking for as a coach, you’ve got at this camp.”
Shannon and the rest of the staff are familiar with the athletes prior to camp but seeing the players from two different schools all working together during camp really gives them a new perspective.
“We’ve been watching these guys,” he said. “Our coaches go over and watch their games on Mondays and Tuesdays so we kind of know what we’re getting.
“It’s a very unique situation we have here in Copperas Cove. Bringing two junior highs together is creating more like a powerhouse really. You’re taking all the players from one school, combining them and watching them blend together. Most of them know each other so they are not strangers but it’s a new concept for them to work with somebody from the other school. That’s always an exciting thing, especially at the freshman level transition to the high school.”
It’s also an opportunity for coaches to get on the same page before the fall practice season officially gets underway for Cove on Monday, August 14.
“One of the biggest reasons why we have this camp is because we have so many new coaches,” said Shannon. “We’ve gone through the process of teaching them our drills and plays. Watching them come out during this week, refining those skills and using the terminology we use is realistically one of the main reasons we have this camp. We need to make sure our coaches are on the same page and using the same terminology.”
With one of the best camp turnouts in recent years, Shannon credits and hungry and talented upcoming group but also acknowledges that community support is key to the program’s success.
“We’ve got very good participation,” he said. “This community rallies around this football program and we’re just excited to have the kids we do have. We have several hundred kids out here. If you’re looking for success, I think that speaks volumes for the success of this camp.”
When all is said and done, however, it’s all about imparting knowledge and getting ready.
“Most importantly, it’s about getting another week of practice in with our young kids and getting them ahead of the curve so they are more prepared than most before their first day of practice,” said Shannon.
The 2017 campaign will get underway Saturday, Aug. 19 when the offense will clash with the defense for the annual Soap and Towel Scrimmage.
The team will face their first opponent not wearing Bulldawg Blue when Cove hosts Abilene in their annual home-away scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 25.