With new coach, building begins in earnest for Flyers
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St. Joseph Flyers
2011 record: 1-9
Returning starters: 6 on offense, 5 on defense
You can not only see that the upcoming season will be a different one for the St. Joseph Flyers, but you can hear it as well.
New head coach Kevin Auten implemented some new wrinkles during the first day of fall practice at St. Joseph, most notably the used of a speaker blasting out music from NGEN radio during practice.
"We come out here to have fun and football should be fun," Auten said. "I think the music gives them something else to have around. It's fun."
St. Joseph was one of hundreds of public and private high schools across the state that began fall practice on Monday.
The seniors at St. Joseph went through the first workout with Auten, the third head coach the school has had in the last four seasons.
The practice adjustments are some of the smaller tweeks the players will have to get used to as St. Joseph enters the season after being reclassified into TAPPS Div. II, District 3 after playing at the TAPPS Div. I level the previous two seasons.
"It's hard to listen to what the coaches are saying, but it has a good vibe at the same time," said senior defensive back Neil Zamora.
The school enters the 2012-13 year with a total enrollment of 322 students.
Auten was hired by the school in July after being the head coach and athletic director at Big Lake Reagan County for one season where he went 4-6.
Donnie Slatter, Auten's predecessor, led the Flyers to a playoff berth in 2010. Slatter was 5-16 in two seasons at St. Joseph.
The Flyers are returning six offensive and five defensive starters from last year's team that went 1-9.
Not only is the music something the returning players had to get used to, but the pace of practice requires and adjustment.
"He likes to keep it going nonstop," said senior guard Kace Gandee. "Coach Slatter liked to go non-stop, but he had a few breaks in there. With coach Auten, it's rapid and everything is a great workout."
During the final team huddle that concluded Monday's practice, Auten jokingly raised his hand and introduced himself to the team.
The 35-year-old head coach said getting comfortable with the team and vice versa is a process.
"It's going to take some time, it's a process," Auten said. "We'll get to know them and they'll get to know them. It just takes a little time."
In addition to helping keep the pace for practice up, the louder practices have a build in gameday advantage.
"That will help us get used to the band and all the noise and you'd have to really pay attention to what you're teammates are saying," Gandee said.
The Flyers have scrimmages against Bloomington and at Edna on Aug. 18 and 23. St. Joseph opens the 2012 season on Aug. 13 at Goliad.