Calhoun, El Campo ready to begin drills


May 1, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.

Calhoun head football coach Richard Whitaker and trainer Kenneth Parker were returning to Port Lavaca earlier this week after Whitaker had arthroscopic surgery on his knee when the conversation turned to spring football.

"I was explaining to him why I like spring football," Whitaker said. "We feel like the season begins when you get to district. We want to win our non-district games, but district is what's important. If you can't ready by playing five non-district games that extra week isn't going to help you."

The Sandcrabs will begin spring drills Monday and will gladly trade five days of practice and a scrimmage in August for 18 days of workouts in a more relaxed atmosphere.

The University Interscholastic League gives Class 5A and 4A schools the option and Whitaker has been a proponent of spring practice since he was an assistant at Aldine in the 1990s.

"I just think there's nothing better," Whitaker said. "You have four weeks where you do not have to worry about a Friday night game. You can look at kids at different positions. It's teaching time. I think the pros outweigh the cons big time."

El Campo has also elected to hold spring practice and will begin Thursday. Bay City has elected to take the extra week in practice in August.

El Campo skipped spring drills last year because of delays in the track and field and baseball seasons caused by the threat of the swine flu.

But El Campo coach Bob Gillis likes to get a head start on the upcoming season.

"We know who are a lot of our players are," Gillis said. "We don't know about some of our younger guys and our freshman kids."

The Ricebirds will have a new quarterback and will have to fill some holes in the secondary. Gillis traditionally uses spring drills to firm up the offensive and defensive line.

"We're always looking for linemen," Gillis said. "You might have a kid who's a defensive end and you want to look at him at linebacker. We try to get our guys in the right position."

Whitaker will be paying close attention to the offensive and defensive lines.

"We had some big losses in the line," Whitaker said. "Our of eight linemen, we lost seven We're trying to decide who's going to play on the line."

The coaches believe the work they do this month will make a difference in the fall.

"This helps break up the monotony of offseason workouts," Gillis said. "We've got pretty good participation in our strength and conditioning program during the summer. This leads us in the summer a lot better. It gets us excited about the upcoming season."



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