The Muenster Hornets took the first week slowly when it came to workouts and sports-specific training, but as the weeks have gone by, they are steadily adding more to their plate.
Recently, the Hornets began their football workouts and Muenster athletic director Brady Carney said it was good to finally scrape the surface of football again with an eye on August.
Along with football and the other sports, Carney said the enthusiasm hasn’t dropped from the first week.
“The numbers are still really good and that’s been the most pleasing thing,” Carney said. “We honestly are just missing just a few kids and I would put our participation as far as athletes at about 95% and you can tell the kids and coaches were eager to get back after it. I think that’s been the best thing about getting started again.”
Carney said it is important to have that consistent presence of athletes as the Hornets transition into July workouts, especially before they take the next week off.
“Just like winning that first football game, it kind of puts you on the right path, so having the numbers good early usually indicate that it will be strong throughout the summer,” Carney said. “I think with the UIL adding more sports-specific training, they know they need to be here for that. They want to get that extra time in.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the University Interscholastic League has allowed more sports-specific training this summer.
Up to 90 minutes per day can be spent on sports-specific activities and Carney said the athletes have been itching to get to football drills.
“I’ve been seeing them up here at night and they holler at me to get a key so they can throw the football and do routes,” Carney said. “Being away from it for so long has them ready to get back after it a little bit. We have a lot of kids playing a lot of summer baseball, so we may lose a kid because they have a tournament, but I’m OK with that because they missed out on that in the spring.”
As far as what areas of football the Hornets will focus on, Carney said they are keeping it simple to start.
“We’re going to put kids in positions and go over team offense,” Carney said. “We’ll let them get reps and we’re doing five or six different plays. Some of the kids that were skill kids in eighth grade may be moving to a lineman. So when we do two-a-days, hopefully everyone knows what to do. We’re just fine-tuning things. We’ll teach them as we go.”
Carney has always been keen on sharing the wealth amongst players when it comes to carries or plays in a game and he said that is built during the time players put in during the summer.
“My take as the offensive coordinator is a kid will play harder for me if I get everybody involved a little bit,” Carney said. “Not just one kid for me carries the ball 20 to 30 times a game. I want all my skill kids to have four or five touches and there are always a few kids that get 10 to 15. Every skill kid that will run a play that involves them so they know they’re going to be involved.
While summer can be a time to evaluate talent, Carney said it’s more important for kids to get going in the right direction when it comes to the playbook.
“The evaluation for me like who are my 11 starters, at the JV level, you kind of put them in pads when the UIL allows it in August,” Carney said. “It’s hard to evaluate when kids aren’t hitting each other.”
As the weeks progress, Carney hopes the speed and aggression will pick as well.
Muenster will be off from July 6 to July 10 and Carney said by that time, he thinks it will be a valuable respite before the Hornets hit the home stretch of workouts prior to two-a-days.
“You have to give them a little bit of a break and to me football is a true grind,” Carney said. “The turf may be 110 degrees and you’re out there for six days a week. The true grind begins in August. Between now and then, we have to find a way to keep the kids fresh to an extent so we’re ready to hit it full speed on August 3.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip