By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Two days into their 2016 Fall Camp and their 2016 campaign, the Gervais Cougars have already noticed an sense of betterment compare to this point last year.
“Honestly I think it’s going great compare to last year,” said Derrick Jaramillo. “We have a lot more guys coming out, a lot more skill guys especially. Last year, the skill guys that came out, they come out not consistently. This year we have a lot more commitment, which is great.”
Focusing on defense for the most of the two-and-a-half practice Tuesday afternoon on the grassy field at Gervais High School, the 25-ish players were hard at work in the heat working on blitzing, defensive line twist and slants and coverage’s.
They were pushing each other to be better, the coaches were challenging them; but they were also joking with one another and building one another up as they continuing to bond together with the first round of depth charts coming out later this week.
“We’re starting to see a lot more people realizing now that the depth charts coming and this will be the first one post so everyone is competing for a spot, all the way from the freshman to the seniors. I’m happy so far,” said Cougs Head Coach Josh Crawford.
The plan of the depth charts this early isn’t totally to discourage the kids, but it’s meant to keep the kids battling through camp and use the depth charts entering the scrimmage in a week and a half in Woodburn as motivation to keep getting better.
As practice wraps-up, the coaches challenges the team’s with teammates wheelbarrows, carrying their teammates on their backs and then wind sprints across the length of the field.
During this, those who finished, cheered on those who were finishing; motivating those still finishing up, to finish up strong.
Seeing this impressed Crawford to see that his players are going the extra mile to help out their teammates.
“If you look at any team from Pro-Level way down to 1A, team’s like the Pop Warner football teams, you’re going to see that,” said Crawford. “It’s awesome to start seeing that now and it’s not the coaches having to tell them to do that.
“The kids are doing it on their own. So it’s even better that way.”
The recipe to keep this foundation together to August 27’s jamboree at Woodburn and into the season opener versus Sheridan September 2 on the road is by sticking together say Jaramillo.
“We just need to stick together, that’s how we do, we keep each other up,” he said. “And if we keep each other up, then that’s going to make us ready for and keep us going for the jamboree.”
As they walk off the field, through the sprinklers on the home stand side of the stands and the field and alleyway that separate the Gervais gridiron the locker room, they know what Wednesday’s practice means:
First day in pads.
And though it’s just helmets and shoulder pads, the excitement is there to finally throw on the pads for the first time this season.
“It’s so excited,” said Jaramillo. “I’ve been looking forward to this to this moment since we got out of them. I’ve been missing this sport so much and finally to get the pads on and being able to do contact is great.”
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
PHOTOS (Pictures By Jeremy McDonald)