Holly: ‘Work ethic great’

Published 5:00pm Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Escambia County High School Blue Devils’ football team might be small in numbers, but that hasn’t stopped the players from practicing hard with the first game less than two weeks away.

Second-year head coach Lev Holly said practice has “been really good” since it started on Thursday, Aug. 1, even though the team has only 36 members practicing with a few out of town this summer.

“We’re not big in numbers, but the work ethic has been great,” Holly said in his office Thursday before practice. “The kids have a clear understanding of what we want them to do.”

The team has a lot of returning talent, like 6-foot-1 receiver Devonte Williams and quarterback Chris Johnson, but also a lot of young talent that “has to be groomed,” Holly said.

Of Williams, Holly said the senior has put on 20 pounds in the offseason and will be a playmaker when he gets the ball in his hands.

That being said, Holly expects to play within the offensive system and run to set up the pass, but it would depend on the situation.

“I’m not going to say we’re 50/50 run-pass,” Holly said. “It depends on the situation and the team we’re playing. You have to go with what’s working.”

Holly said ECHS has about six or seven seniors, so summer practice for the Blue Devils’ coaching staff has been about teaching fundamentals.

“We’re taking the kids that are doing the right things on the field,” he said. “We’re taking the dependable, accountable players and teaching those guys to play football.”

Holly praised his assistant coaches, calling them “the best group of guys for the kids.”

“They come in early and stay late,” Holly said of the staff. “They keep the well-being of the kids in mind.”

Holly said the team will learn a lot about life under his coaching staff this year.

“Don’t worry about championships; be a champion,” he said. “If you become a champion, championships will come.”

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