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Broncos kick off Miller era with first practice of fall

The Denton High School football team donned their white and purple helmets Monday to run drills and work on plays at the team's first practice of the fall.

It also was the first practice for head coach Billy Miller in his new role. Miller previously worked at Ryan as an assistant football coach and track coach. He replaces Kevin Atkinson at Denton following Atkinson's departure in April to take a coaching job in Flower Mound. 

About 130 players turned out for Monday's practice, a number Miller said he was pleased with.

"Great first day. I couldn't ask for a better first day," Miller said. "It's 88 degrees and these kids came out here ready to go to work."

The team will practice without pads until Friday to comply with UIL rules for heat acclimation, and it will have two weeks of practice before its first scrimmage against Argyle on Aug. 19.

Denton sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Wofford (19), on the right, narrowly escapes being tackled. Denton High School's football team held their first practice of the season Monday afternoon. Tuesday, December 31, 2013, Denton High School in Denton, Texas. Jake King/DRC ORG XMIT: txderDRC
Denton sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Wofford (19), on the right, narrowly escapes being tackled. Denton High School's football team held their first practice of the season Monday afternoon. Tuesday, December 31, 2013, Denton High School in Denton, Texas. Jake King/DRC ORG XMIT: txder
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The Broncos did not conduct spring practices this year while they were without a coach, but the UIL provides the option for teams to start fall camp one week earlier than teams that had spring practices. Miller said he hopes the team will get everything it can out of the early start.

"The goal is the same as everyday: Get better," Miller said. "We're breeding champions over here."

After working out for more than two hours, the team gathered around its new coach for some first-day words of encouragement to kick off the  season. Miller said expectations were high.

"You live up to it. I don't care what you heard, I don't care where you came from," Miller said. "That [practice] was a great start to get to where we're trying to go.

"If you're on this grass, you are running. There's no excuse for a lack of effort. I'm not interested in excuses. I'm interested in success; I'm interested in results. We're on an adventure. We're on a journey that you all have never experienced before and you may never experience again. You better take full advantage of it right now."

Denton High School football team practices their sprints across the football field. Denton High School's football team held their first practice of the season Monday afternoon. Tuesday, December 31, 2013, Denton High School in Denton, Texas. Jake King/DRC ORG XMIT: txderDRC
Denton High School football team practices their sprints across the football field. Denton High School's football team held their first practice of the season Monday afternoon. Tuesday, December 31, 2013, Denton High School in Denton, Texas. Jake King/DRC ORG XMIT: txder
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Candidates for quarterback this season include Sophomore Landry Kinne and Junior Brooks Bedinger. The offense's only returning starters are sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Wofford and senior Mac Harris. Miller said other standout players on offense are senior wide receivers Kolin Buris, Jalin Dorsett and Cortez Cardenas.

Miller said valuable players on defense likely will include junior safety Elijah Thibodeaux, senior safety Anthony Tony-Itoyah, senior wide receiver Jacob Dean and junior defensive end Andy Scott.