Cougars excited to finally ‘lay licks’

Published 10:03 am Monday, May 9, 2011

Escambia Academy Cougars Clayton Dyess, left, and Reid Bell take part in a drill at practice at Escambia Academy on Thursday.|Photo by Chandler Myers

After three days of conditioning, the Escambia Academy Cougars finally put their pads on for Thursday’s practice.

With the beginning of their work in full gear, the Cougars immediately went to work and laying licks to one another in a variety of drills.

Cougars head coach Heath Gibson said his team was excited to finally get to hit each other after the conditioning period.

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“Everyone has been amped up and excited,” he said. “The guys came out to our practice and really went hard at it. We’ll see how they react to the next days of practice though with the soreness setting in. Right now, they are just happy to be back on the football field and hitting has got them fired up.”

Despite the hard hitting going on at the Cougars’ practice Thursday, sophomore Brian Ross was still in good spirits.

Ross, an offensive and defensive lineman for the Cougars, said he has seen good things from his team in their first days of practice.

“It’s been going strong,” he said. “We’ve had three good days of conditioning and today in our pads has been good. There have been some good licks laid out here and everyone has been getting after it.”

Despite having a mandatory three days in shorts, the Cougars were more excited to get their full gear on then just condition.

For Ross, the chance to hit someone was building up for him.

“It’s nice to finally have them on,” Ross said. “After going three days in just shorts and helmets, it gets you anxious to put on the pads and run someone over.”

Cougars junior running back Jaylen Henry said he likes getting past the conditioning period because having pads on is more fun.

“I like the first day in pads more than just the first day of conditioning,” Henry said. “It’s fun to get out there and hit somebody. I went up against Wesley (Steadham) and Reid (Bell) and it was fun because they can get after it.”

Offensively, Ross has been trying to get adjusted to getting to his blocks as fast as possible off of the snap, but on defense he has been trying to focus on getting off blocks.

“Just have to hustle off of the ball,” Ross said. “Hustle is big especially when it means getting to the linebackers. On defense, I just have to be more physical to rip off my blocks and get to the quarterback.”

Henry has not had a chance to get too deep into the playbook, but before spring practice is over he said he wants to just become a better rusher.

“I’m hoping to improve my speed, strength and ability,” Henry said.