Cougar Football enters spring practice with renewed focus | Sports | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | May 12, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: May 11, 2016 at 3:12 pm
By CINDY CROSBY
The first week of spring football practice just wrapped up for the 135 players who came out for Colleton County Cougar football. Spring practice is trending a new direction for the football program at Colleton County, with a renewed focus on improving student-athlete’s academic performance in the classroom and the continued growth and development of middle school-age players. The first step began last week with enforced study halls and a combined practice schedule.
According to Chris Collins, head football coach for the Cougars, about 100 of the rising 8-12th graders are now participating with the remainder in study hall, focusing on improving their academic standing before the completion of the school year. “We’ve had a bunch of kids in study hall,” said Coach Collins. “Now, after the first week, we have about 100 kids out of study hall and on the field.”
A revamped spring practice schedule including Colleton County Middle School was in place for the first day of practice last Monday May 2. “We are working with the middle school kids on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays and the high school kids on Monday through Thursday, allowing us to have just middle school on Friday,” explained Collins. “We have the varsity coaches working with both groups, which we are excited about, because it allows us to be more involved in their progression as players and students.”
Collins, and his staff were well pleased by what they saw in the first week of practice — especially from the younger kids. “They’ve been a lot of fun,” said Collins. “We’ve seen a couple of kids in that younger group that we’ve been very impressed with. Typically, the spring is a lot of fun, where you are not game planning, but really just teaching football in a camp-like atmosphere.”
According to Collins, the focus for the first week of spring football was work ethic and pace-setting. “We are stressing a lot about pace this year and moving faster,” said Collins. “We saw a lot of improvement and return on that already. The kids are flying to the football and showing a lot of energy and enthusiasm — by far, a group that is very coachable and wants to learn.”
The excitement is building around changes for both the Cougar offense and defense. Collins (never one to give-up too much early on) admits things are changing with a slant toward a more pass-heavy offense. “We are going to spread out a lot and throw the football,” he said. “It is kind of funny because right now, we have one run play and four pass plays. I would imagine that ratio to stay the same throughout the year. Defensively, we’re giving a little different look and will likely be a little blitz-heavy with a lot of movement going on.”
Although the full coaching staff isn’t in place at this time, Collins is excited about his returning assistants and the new additions. “I told the coaches going into to spring practice that at the end of the day, I want them tired too,” said Collins. “We’ve got some great coaches returning and a new staff member who is bringing a lot of energy to the practice field.”
Cougar Day is planned for Saturday May 28 at Cougar Stadium from 5-8 p.m.