Weather doesn’t dampen PLAS practice

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2001

Sports Writer

Although the weather hasn’t cooperated with Pike Liberal Arts School’s new head football coach Mack Williams this past week, his football players have.

After almost two weeks of practice, including the past week in full pads, Williams has been impressed with his players’ attitudes and efforts towards a new program. And the adjustment wasn’t easy, with the new program consisting of practices conducted at 5 a.m., something new for all the players.

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"We’ve been getting after it this week, as far as contact drills and stuff like that," Williams said.

"We’re optimistic, we had a good summer workout and conditioning program. We went through two-a-days last week and the kids are working hard."

"I think they have done real well adjusting to a new program. We’ve had some disappointments, but that’s all part of it. I know the early morning practices sound crazy, but the kids were willing to make that sacrifice and I think last week went real well. So I think they have accepted my program and I am thankful for that."

Williams is still trying to get to know his teams’ strengths and weaknesses, but he said he will get to know his personnel better with upcoming scrimmages against South Montgomery, Morgan and Lowdnes.

"I’m not one of these jamboree-type coaches, where you play a bunch of teams, I like to go head-up, but that will be a good experience for us, every little practice helps, especially right now, trying to work out the kinks, who is going to start for us, special teams. But it will give us an idea about our offense and defense."

With PLAS returning 15 seniors and ending last season with a huge win over Dixie, Williams is excited about what is in store for his team, but Williams is also quick to point out that there is a long way to go.

"These kids have been through a lot and they haven’t had a lot of success, so I’m not too quick to judge anything. But these kids have pulled together and let some of these other kids know it’s important to be here and not let us down."

"I know they are anxious, heck I’m anxious. They just need to taste a little success and feel good about themselves. We’re excited, we have a small staff, but we know what it takes. I’m pretty pleased with the effort and attitude so far."

Williams is also excited about the future of the program with over 30 seventh, eighth and ninth graders.

"We had 18 or 19 eighth and ninth graders this summer that loved the weightroom, loved being here, never missed a day, didn’t complain and I can’t say that for all my varsity kids so I am very excited about the underclassman we have."

Even with all the positives thus far, Williams has been struck with bad luck too, as the injury bug has already hit the Patriots. Luke Sanders suffered a broken collarbone on the second day of full pads practice and will likely miss the season.

"That hurt with Luke, because he is a gritty kid and you hate to see that anytime. Personnel wise, we can’t have many more things happen like this with our number situation. But that was just one of those freak things where the kids were getting after it."

But the injury doesn’t dampen Williams’s outlook for the season.

"We are just hoping for the best right now and we are very optimistic."