Era

New Era head coach Terry Felderhoff looks on as Hornet athletes work on their sport-specific activities on Tuesday, June 16.

Era head football coach Terry Felderhoff is just a few weeks into his new gig and he got his first chance at working with the athletes the past week and a half.

The opportunity to get to know his kids and install his system has him and the athletes raring to go for the start of football.

The first few days the Hornets have had to work on football has Felderhoff encouraged for the future.

“I’m very, very pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Felderhoff said. “The numbers are good. We’ve had almost 40 football kids and we’ve got guys that are straight basketball or baseball. The number is huge. It’s great to see those numbers out. There seems to be excitement. I’m excited and it’s just a promising outlook looking at sheer numbers.”

Felderhoff said he hopes the excitement the athletes are showing will continue as the summer progresses.

“The kids are ready to work,” Felderhoff said. “Some of that’s got to do with being shut down for a few months. I think everybody’s numbers are great right now. The key is that continues and that it’s not just a one or two-week excitement and that it continues throughout the summer and that they are here in day one in August. We like what we’ve seen so far.”

From football-focused training to weightlifting, Felderhoff said he is putting the athletes through the gambit in the first handful of days.

“We’ve been throwing the ball around and we want to be a balanced team offensively,” Felderhoff said. “We want to be balanced running and passing as much as we can be. We’ve got to work on throwing and catching. Like you’d expect, day one was rough and day two was a little better. We’re doing it two days a week right now and every day is just a little better. That’s promising.”

The Hornets have been a run-oriented offense in the past, so Felderhoff said he knows there will be a bit of a transition period to a more aerial attack.

“We’ll be putting the ball in the air a little more than they’re used to,” Felderhoff said. “Those are skills they need to develop and that’s the same thing I went through at Gruver, where we went through growing pains. We made a similar switch and there are a lot of similarities when we made that adjustment. They’ve come a long way in the little bit we’ve done and a lot of it is them just getting used to me.”

Felderhoff said he is optimistic about the talent in Era.

“There are some good kids here,” Felderhoff said. “The younger you go, the more kids there are. There’s five seniors and there is a big freshman class. As you go down in the lower grades, there are just more kids. With numbers, it gives you more of a chance to have a higher level of talent. We’ve got our work cut out for us no doubt, but the cupboard isn’t bare either.”

In the weight room, Felderhoff said the Hornets have responded well to the weightlifting program.

“We’re lower body two days a week and upper body two days a week,” Felderhoff said. “They did a good job doing a good lift every day. They’ve accepted and gotten used to how we’re doing things with how we’re limited with the amount of kids in the weight room. We’re splitting things up, but they’re still getting their work done.”

It was obvious to Felderhoff and the coaching staff that the Hornets weren’t in good shape, but he understands that after the long layoff.

“I’m sure everybody is like that,” Felderhoff said. “So getting back into it, it’s not a shock to their system, but after you’ve been off for a while, it’s tough. Even if you’ve been trying to work out, it’s just different once you start lifting and start doing certain drills and stuff. You can always improve on your shape. It’s obvious they were off for a few months, but it’s coming along.”

Especially during the summer, Felderhoff said strength and conditioning is paramount to the growth of a program.

“I don’t care what sport it is, it’s huge,” Felderhoff said. “We want functional strength. We don’t want a bunch of brutes that can’t move. That doesn’t do anybody any good. The strength has to be functional and so far that’s what’s going on. Any coach will tell you that. You can lift the entire weight room, but if you can’t move, it’s not going to do you much good.”

Felderhoff said it’s important for him to set the tone and expectations for the program early.

“We’re just trying get them to understand what I expect and what we want,” Felderhoff said. “We’re going to do things right and our effort is going to be something that we can control. There are so many things in life you can’t control, but we can control our attitude and our character. I expect their best effort at all times. So far they’ve responded and I like what I’m seeing.”

Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip

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