The Escambia County Blue Devils kicked off spring practice Tuesday under the leadership of coach Karl Smith.

Blue Devils kick off training

Published 9:14pm Wednesday, May 9, 2012

As the search for a new head coach continues, the Escambia County Blue Devils football team opened up spring practice Tuesday being led by their assistant coaches.

With coach Karl Smith at the lead, the Blue Devils have gone back to work to improve as a team and prepare for a spring game against W.S. Neal and Linden.

With the hiring of a new coach on the horizon, Smith and the rest of the staff is taking a basic approach to practices.

“Our plan is to keep it simple,” Smith said. “We want to keep it basic, so that the new coach can come in an implement and it will cut down on confusion.”

Moving into the first set of practices without Heaton will be a difficult test for Smith and the other coaches.

Keeping the players heads up will be imporant in order to be ready to play two teams at the close of spring practice.

“We are just letting them know that everything happens for a reason,” he said. “This is one of the things they have to face as a team and as individuals. When coach (Heaton ) left, they were hurt and upset, but we told them that he did what was best for him. They have to suck it up and go back to work to get better.”

To have the chance to improve, the Blue Devils will have to be willing to follow Smith’s instructions.

Practices will be different this spring, but the players will have specific rules to follow, Smith said.

“I’m going to give them my expectations and requirements,” he said. “We are going to open practices with a walk-through on what we will practice each day. Once, we go through that we will move through practice.”

With eight days of consecutive work left, the Blue Devils will follow one set goal.

Fighting through the events surrounding the coaching change will be what sets the team up for success, Smith said.

“The goal is to have our team overcome this adversity,” he said. “I want their minds focused on getting better and winning.”

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