Before lining up for their first game of the season against Dallas Bishop Lynch today, the Denton Broncos have spent the last week of practice polishing every phase of their game. Head coach Kevin Atkinson knows his team isn’t at the top of their game, but he remains calm and optimistic.
“We are still probably on the first major tuning,” Atkinson said. “We’ve had one dress rehearsal. The way I look at it is, if we improve every week, when we play our last game we are going to be playing our best game.”
Bishop Lynch finished last season with a 6-5 record and failed to make the playoffs in TAPPS District I-1. Atkinson knows the Friars will test his team, but he also has his sights set on having his team ready for its first District 5-4A showdown against Lake Dallas.
“I really take these nondistrict games differently,” Atkinson said. “I want to win them like crazy, don’t get me wrong, but the most important ones start with the fourth game. I want to make sure we are doing what we need to do in the first three weeks before we play Lake Dallas.”
Atkinson remains adamant about his team’s growth from week to week, and after the Broncos padded their development with a scrimmage against Frisco Wakeland last Friday, Atkinson was confident about his team’s improvement, yet still focused on fundamentals.
“We want to be better running the football and we want to have better run blocking from where we were the other night,” Atkinson said. “We didn’t execute offensively when we needed to. It wasn’t really scheme and it wasn’t athletic ability, it was just mental errors.”
Another easier-said-than-done aspect Atkinson is focused on is not turning the ball over, something the Broncos did twice against Wakeland.
“We can’t beat ourselves, and if you look at teams that have been unsuccessful, most of them have been unsuccessful because they beat themselves before anybody else beats them,” Atkinson said.
The Broncos simulated game situations throughout the week with the coaches strapped with the responsibility of making it seem real. With several coaches yelling out plays and assignments, other coaches harped on players to get their heads in the game, to get up off the benches and cheer on their teammates, all while working on getting players ready to enter the game.
“It’s the little things you really don’t think about that end up costing you,” Atkinson said. “It’s sideline communication, alignment issues, spacing on the field offensively — all those things come into play that a lot of people don’t really think about. The mental aspect is very important.”
The Broncos also worked on the two-minute drill, but Atkinson said his team has a grasp on it due to its no-huddle offense.
“You have to prepare for every situation, because you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Atkinson said. “We’ve worked on the two-minute offense a couple times, but the good thing about running a no-huddle is you can be two-minute all the time. It’s not that different.”
With the beginning of a new era in Bronco football, Atkinson is focused on the simple details and offered his reasoning for why football requires every player to be on the same page and take care of their responsibilities — a message he shares daily with his athletes.
“Football is the best team sport that’s played,” Atkinson said. “I could get LeBron James and pick up four of my coaches and we are going to win a lot of basketball games at a high level. I could get Nolan Ryan in his heyday and eight other coaches and we are going to win a lot of baseball games at a high level.
“But, you get Drew Brees and get 10 of my coaches, you’re not going to win a game, because you have to depend on everybody else to be doing their job.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .