Devils open spring practice

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Escambia County began its spring football practice Tuesday. The Blue Devils put on pads May 1

An understanding of the team’s mission is what Escambia County Head Football Coach Mark Heaton wants from his players during spring practice.

The Blue Devils kicked off their spring practice Tuesday with the first of three conditioning days before beginning practice in less than two weeks.

Opening with the required conditioning days is something Heaton specifically tools for his players that have not been active since the fall, he said.

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“First, we are starting with our three days of mandatory conditioning that is required by the state,” he said. “We are taking Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to knock this out of the way, and get the kids who have not played spring sports in the shape to be ready for practice.”

The days in the spring practice will be broken up due to spring break beginning next Monday, but Heaton felt it would aid his team to use the conditioning days early.

Once the days of hitting begin, the focus will be on how well the off season went for the Blue Devils.

Seeing positive results of the strength and conditioning program is will be an important sign for how things go, Heaton said.

“We are going to put pads on May 1,” he aid. “We just want to see the improvements that we have made in the off season with our strength and conditioning program. It’s important to see how those results in here will transfer out to the field. The  kids have worked hard, so we anticipate having a great spring”

Understanding the principles on offense and defense will also be a task that Heaton looks to tackle.

How the team uses that understanding at the end of practices in the spring game will be how Heaton judges the success, he said.

“Making sure that we are good in our base stuff will be important,” he said. “A strong understanding of what we are doing after 10 days of practice and a spring game is the goal that we are trying to achieve.”

Some players will be seeing new faces coaching their positions.

While the changes have not been announced, Heaton said some coaches will be in coaching new positions this season.

“We will have some shuffling around as far as what coaches are coaching what positions,” he said. “To be a great coach, a coach has to be able to move from one spot to another and not lose intensity. We have great coaches and I have 100 percent confidence that they will do great.”

Spring will conclude with games against W.S. Neal in East Brewton.

The junior varsity will play on Thursday, May 17 and the varsity will take the field on Saturday, May 19.

“We wanted to seperate those games to give both squads a little bit more game experience,” Heaton said.