There's an old adage about “reading the tea leafs”, as a means of predicting the future.
There were no tea leaves to be found at Troup's Tiger Stadium early Thursday morning, but there was a light sprinkling of brown pine needles that had fallen down in the north end zone of the venue where the Tigers were going through a morning practice session.
In East Texas brown pine needles in late August means only one thing: fall is not too far away.
Troup head coach Dennis Alexander didn't have to look for pine needles on the ground to know that with the first week of fall practices complete, Friday night football time is quickly approaching for his Tigers.
Alexander, the fourth-winningest high school coach in Texas history, has always had no trouble with words — although sometimes some of those idioms are not for young ears to hear — so when he told he team, “its time to quit hitting from the ladies' tees and start hitting off of the men's tees”, chances are the Tigers got the message loud and clear.
Offensively, the Tigers' output was much more crisp after Alexander's diatribe and the offensive linemen also showed improvement in executing their blocking assignments.
The Tiger offense is loaded this year and Alexander and his staff of assistants are busy installing the plays that will give the Tigers the best chance at winning this fall.
Of the five offensive starters that are back, quarterback Blake Lynch leads the way.
Lynch, a junior, is a duel threat who is a legitimate Division I prospect. Lynch is reported to have offers from Baylor and Mississippi State already.
At running back, D'Lous West, has transferred in from Brook Hill and looks to get his share of reps.
The lightning-fast Marcus Kincade is also returning and his 4.7-40 yard speed will surely be giving opposing defensive coordinators headaches this season.
The parade of adept Troup backs also included Marcus Davis, another holdover from last year's 9-2 team.
When the Maroons put the ball in the air, Lynch will probably be looking for Hytachi Lydia, a 6-foot, 170-pound senior or wideout Brandon Hearon.
Tight end Tanner Emory could also hear his name called a few times as well.
Providing the wall of protection for Lynch and company will be senior Tristen Walsworth, a 6-foot-1 260-pound brute.
Collectively, the Tiger O-line has above average size and should provide adequate protection for the Troup skilled players.