Gabriel Garcia | The Advocate & Democrat
The Sweetwater backfield runs handoff drills Monday on the first day of full pads practice.
|Published: 3:28 PM, 07/31/2013
||Last updated: 3:29 PM, 07/31/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
As if Sweetwater wasn't already facing enough adversity from what is likely a rebuilding season, the legal and job status of its head football coach remains uncertain.
But the Wildcats — who return only two starters on offense and two part-time starters on defense from last year’s playoff squad — were focused simply on improving in time for the start of the season when the TSSAA-mandated full pads practice period began Monday.
"We're just out here today to practice football," said Mike Martin, who is serving as interim head coach while Craig Moser is dealing with charges of driving under the influence last week. "All the external stuff is going to take care of itself. Our kids are focused on football."
And Sweetwater's first day in full pads — as hard hitting and fast moving as it would be otherwise — was spent mostly on correcting issues like mental errors and blown assignments.
"We've just got to get everything together offensively and defensively," Martin said. "We've got our install in for the most part, but we've just got to focus on cleaning some things.
"And make sure we’re executing on offense and running to the ball on defense."
Chiefs coach Bill Satterfield knows and likes what he has in his seniors and first stringers.
Now he's using full pads practice to sort out which younger players will provide quality depth.
"We're looking to develop some kids in backup roles for some of our spots on our offensive line," Satterfield said.
"On the defensive side, especially in the linebacker section, I feel really good about our ones in every situation on offense and defense, but weve got to have more than one person for every situation."
Sequoyah is dealing with one potential absence on its defensive line, with starting defensive end Chad Young recovering from an appendectomy.
"We've had to adjust a few things, but the big guys up front is where our strength is going to be," Satterfield said.
One point of concern the coach was the relative lack of turnout from the incoming freshmen.
"I don't know what the deal is there, but if they're waiting on a scholarship offer we don't have any, so maybe they'll come out here when we get closer to school or something," Satterfield said.
The Bears donned the pads for the first time this summer just in time to hear how little the other coaches in District 3-A thought of their chances this season.
"We found out today that everybody in our district picked us to come in last," said coach John Mullinax. "That's motivation. We're not going to finish seventh. We're not going to do that.
"We're not getting any respect, and I'm mad about that."
Tellico Plains practiced Monday and Tuesday in shorts and shoulder pads and will put on the full pads Wednesday, with a focus on the basics.
"Fundamentally we've just got to get better, and that’s what we’re going to work on this week," Mullinax said. "I think we've improved. It’s just a matter of getting all 11 of them on the same page. Working hard, that kind of thing, that’s going to be the key."
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