Cougars open spring practice

Published 11:19 am Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fundamentals are the focus for Hugh Fountain, as he enters his first season as the head football coach of the Escambia Academy Cougars.

The Cougars kicked off spring practices Monday beating the heat and then the rain to get in three more days of practice, as they begin learning the new systems that Fountain brings with him from his former school Charles-Henderson in Troy.

With the practices underway, goals have been set to give the Cougars something to achieve over the next two weeks, Fountain said.

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“We set four goals for offense, defense and special teams,” he said. “Most of them are goals that are good every single day. We want to get better fundamentally, which is the top goal. We have a lot of improvement to make in areas like holding on to the football and tackling, but that will come in time.”

Fundamentals are the focus of the training period, but adjusting to Fountain’s style is also something the players are having to do.

The adjustment to the systems is one thing the team is learning, but getting used to the type of practice the coach holds is the bigger task , Fountain said.

“I think that it’s pretty simple,” he said. “There is no elaborate plan to what we do, but the big thing has been getting them used to my style of practicing.”
Even with learning new things under a new coach, the practices are moving smoothly.

A strong interest in getting started with practices has the team working hard, Fountain said.

“It’s been going well,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do, but the enthusiasm has been good and the guys have been wanting to work.”

The squad that takes the field at Bachelor Field next fall will be full of new faces.

From a team standpoint, finding all the right players to replace the departed seniors is the new head coach’s biggest task, Fountain said.

“We don’t have a lot of game experience,” he said. “Looking back at last year’s team, we have lost 17 seniors, so we lost almost everyone at every position. We have our quarterback, a linebacker and an offensive lineman back, so we several new faces looking to take the field.”

Finding players to work for those positions has not been a problem with a large group practicing each day.

Numbers are one area where the Cougars are excelling, Fountain said.

“The number one thing is that the work ethic is good and our numbers are high,” he said. “We have 48 coming out each day to practice, but we are still working to get every boy to come out and play football. Of course, they aren’t all going to play, but we are looking to get as many as possible on that field.”

Along with finding new players to step up, Fountain is looking to complete his coaching staff.

Giving the players enough support to learn their positions and side of the ball will help the team’s success, Fountain said.

“We are also working to build or coaching staff,” he said. “It’s still in the middle of the school year, so I haven’t been able to get everything how I want it. I’m still searching for some staff guys to come in and work, so we have more help to give our players what they need.”

The Cougars’ spring practices will conclude with a spring game against Monroe Academy on Friday,  May 18.