Before Denton can face Dallas Bishop Lynch on Aug. 30, Monday’s start of football practice for the Broncos was a day for laying the foundation for the upcoming season.
In Kevin Atkinson’s second season as Denton’s head coach, the focus on the first day of practice was to further iron out the folds of his coaching scheme along with getting players in shape.
“We are going over scheme stuff offensively, defensively and positionally,” Atkinson said. “You have to spend some time in the classroom, too, with what your assignments are. We had them do a little cardio mixed with some high intensity [workouts]. We are re-introducing our boot camp that we introduced in the spring that we thought was very beneficial to our discipline and character.”
In addition to the spring boot camp, Atkinson is utilizing a program the team provided in the summer to help solidify other aspects of the culture he is looking to install on and off the field.
“We had strength and conditioning everyday throughout the summer and it was really well attended, and our kids really embraced it,” Atkinson said. “It was more attended this summer than last summer, so we are making strides. It’s not where we want it, but changing the culture is one day at a time. We gassed them pretty good.”
The summer program mimicked that of an army with commands to communicate while completing the designated task within their own teams of Alpha, Bravo and Charlie.
To Atkinson, the repetitive nature of the drills will help to create some consistency that teams rely on throughout the season.
“They have to learn different commands; it’s something we are striving for them to be perfect doing it,” Atkinson said. “Being such a young team, I think this was instrumental in revisiting it because this spring paid a lot of dividends, and I heard the kids say how it carried over to their discipline and mental toughness. The everyday actions are how you determine what your culture is. It was a positive, stern way of how to set our tempo, and our group is heading in the right direction, which is better than just a few guys.”
As far as the Xs and Os are concerned, having a full year under their belts is already paying off, according to Atkinson.
“I was pleased with the way we executed our plays and our schemes offensively and defensively,” Atkinson said. “We are strides ahead of where we were this time last year because our kids are more familiar and more bought in. There is more of a trust factor moreso with this group because we were a new staff. We actually have four new staff members ... so they were getting it, too. It kind of solidifies it for them as well.”
With the players in a better spot than last year to develop and learn the system, Atkinson and the coaches are teaching as much as they can to the players up front and fine tuning particular aspects as they go along.
“What you want to do is install your whole offense, and once everything is installed, you take pieces of it and develop it even more, depending on who you are playing,” Atkinson said. “Then when you install it, they have pretty good knowledge of it, but then it becomes a deeper knowledge as the season goes on.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.