Spring football practice has begun in Sweetwater and new head coach Mike Martin is getting settled into his new role with the Wildcats. So far, he has been pleased with the attitude of the team in their preseason workouts and hopes that that attitude and energy carries over into summer workouts and games in the fall.
“Of course, we’ve only been out one day, but I was encouraged by what I saw yesterday,” Martin said. “Their effort, their attitude, they had good energy and they weren’t afraid to get after each other on the first day, so I was pleased with the first day. We’ll see how it goes from there.”
At times in the past, effort has fallen into question for the Wildcats. That trend has not continued into spring practice. Martin has a no-nonsense attitude toward work ethic and that attitude has been reflected in his team. The result is a squad that goes at full speed all the time.
“There are non-negotiables and effort is one of them,” Martin said. “If you’re going to be out there, there are going to be times where we make mistakes in execution, and I’ll probably make more mistakes than anybody, but effort is non-negotiable. That’s at the top of our list as to where our priorities are. If you don’t know where you’re going, still go full speed. Full-speed effort is their only option.”
Martin and the team are going to spend days focused on both sides of the ball as Martin attempts to install a new system on offense and defense. The new strategies could pay dividends on the field for the Wildcats this fall.
“Right now our first two days we’ve focused on offense, and the third and fourth days we’ll focus on defense,” Martin said. “We’re getting some installation in and preparing them for the summer so they’ll at least get their feet wet with a new offense and a new defense.”
The biggest problem facing the Wildcats is a lack of personnel. Football numbers have been dwindling for the last few seasons which leaves Sweetwater with plenty of holes to fill. The key will be developing those players to be ready when their numbers are called.
“We’ve got to develop depth,” Martin said.
“As you know, our numbers have been an issue for a few years and we’ve got to develop depth to help the guys that we think are starters. We’ve got to develop depth and get those guys ready. When you open up that first month of the season, it’s pretty hot, so we’ve got to get guys ready to play.”
As for his staff, Martin was keeping mum. Some assistant coaches are in place, but more could follow as the days wear on.
“We’ve got a staff together but it’s still in progress,” Martin said.
“There could be additions to it, we’ll just have to wait and see.
At this point, the Wildcats will get to work preparing for next season in the short spring period of one week that they are given. The rest of the work will come over the summer and in camps this fall to prepare for the next season on the gridiron.