Lindsay

Lindsay head coach Jeff Smiley can’t control his optimism for this year’s football team.

After finishing up his first year as head coach during last season’s 5-6 run to the playoffs, Smiley is raving about how much progress his team has made since last season.

“I told kids that we want to get a little bit better each day and we don’t have to get a lot better, but let’s get a little bit better,” Smiley said. “We’re just so much further ahead. And I keep saying this over and over, but we’re just so much further ahead than where we were last year from a scheme standpoint and from a knowledge standpoint.”

From a coaching standpoint, Smiley said his job is much easier this season due to all the work the team has put in along with his increased familiarity with the players.

“Number one, we’re not having to be out there as long because the practice has a good flow to it now,” Smiley said. “Everybody knows the expectations and procedures and I feel like we’re practicing football. Last year, we were just practicing terminology. It was from the ground up that we had to start our teaching process, so in that regard, now, we’re coaching football, whereas that wasn’t necessarily the case for the first several weeks last year.”

Smiley said having a tempo and schedule to practice is a big part of having success in the season.

“Kids are creatures of habit, especially teenage boys and they like to know that there’s going to be a procedure and a flow,” Smiley said. “Practice-wise we do have a certain plan that we go by, and I know that we’re going to follow that plan and that schedule. They like the consistency, so we try to be consistent in the way that we work.”

While the Knights have had an easier round of practices this year due to their increased knowledge, Smiley said that isn’t keeping he and the coaching staff from drilling the fundamentals into the team.

“If they step the wrong way, there’s going to be consequences,” Smiley said. “We want them to step right. We want them to be in the proper stance and the proper alignment and reading the proper key. Everything we do is based off that and if you can’t get in this stance, you can’t do anything. We couldn’t get an athletic stance last year. Those are just little things that we had to coach that we’re not having to coach now.”

The Knights will face Paradise on the road Friday, Aug.16, in their first scrimmage of the season.

Smiley said he isn’t taking the scrimmage too seriously or too lightly.

“We don’t really worry so much about coming out victorious,” Smiley said. “We just want to make sure we’re doing the things we’ve been working on and doing them the right way and with our best effort. And, you know, you really don’t scheme for scrimmages. You don’t really want to get off script and do certain things that you want to look at. It’s not always necessarily situational things.”

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

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