Jacksonville assistant football coach Jay Brashear said that he got very little sleep Sunday night/Monday morning.
Brashear probably wasn't the only one in Indianland who tossed and turned with jittery anticipation of Monday morning's opening of fall two-a-days at the Happy Valley training grounds.
But as lousy as losing a night of sleep can be, Brashear reminded a group of his defensive charges that Monday was still “the greatest day of the year in East Texas” as Brashear's enthusiasm could not be contained.
The Tribe got back to work on Monday, a week later than the remaining area teams, due to the fact that Jacksonville conducted spring practice this year.
Indian head coach Chris Taber was dashing back-and-forth from corner-to-corner of the fields overseeing drills, but he did pause to offer these comments.
“So far, so good,” he said. “The first day of practice has gone well so far, with no surprises.”
One thing that Taber seemed overjoyed about was the number of young men that came out for football this year.
“When it is all said and done we should have right at 150 kids participating in varsity, JV and freshmen football,” he said. “We ran about 110 in all three programs last year (Taber's first as Tribe mentor), so we are looking at an increase of about 40, which we feel real good about.”
Taber said that while it will be a few days before an exact number is known the Tribe varsity should top out with about 15 more players than it carried last year.
“You always have freshmen trickling in late for various reasons,” he said. “Some of the freshmen want show up until the first day of school.”
The Tribe will spend the first four days in shorts and t-shirts in keeping with University Interscholastic League rules.
And even though it will be Friday before the Blue and Gold dust off the pads for the first time, the Jacksonville varsity is already hard at work working introducing various elements cooked up for Carthage — the Tribe's opening night (7:30 p.m. Aug. 30, Tomato Bowl) opponent and the No.1-ranked team in Texas Class 3A.
The Bulldogs will scrimmage later this week, which will give the Tribe coaching staff an opportunity to scout the vaunted Dawgs live and in person.
Jacksonville will have just one exhibition game this fall, again, due to conducting spring practice, and that is scheduled to take place on Thursday Aug. 22 when Jacksonville makes the short trek to Bullard to scrimmage the Panthers.
The 9th grade game should get under way at 5:30 p.m. (tentattive), followed by the junior varisty and varisty tilts.