There was a different feeling in the air when the New Waverly Bulldogs took the practice field late Monday afternoon — and it wasn’t just the pleasant breeze and cloud coverage, providing a momentary reprieve from the sweltering Texas summer.
The curriculum stayed mostly the same as it had been in recent weeks, with UIL sanctioned instruction allowing the Bulldogs the chance to begin preparations for the 2020 season over the past month. However, Monday marked the first official practice of training camp — a long-anticipated moment following months of coronavirus-related uncertainty.
New Waverly head coach Dean Schaub notes that his team is particularly looking forward to the opportunity to strap up their pads and begin full-contact drills. The Bulldogs — which practiced in helmets, shorts and t-shirts on Monday — will begin wearing full pads on Friday, before going “live-live” next Monday.
“The kids are wanting it to happen,” Schaub said of upcoming full-contact practices. “They've been thinking about this moment, and in the past couple months, a lot of kids have probably thought that football wasn't going to pan out. Now that they know we are having it, it's going to be like Christmas morning for them.”
As the first few days of training camp unfold, one of Schaub’s primary goals for his team boils down to retaining the information they’ve been taught throughout summer workouts.
“With us doing our sport-specific workouts for the past several weeks, I've told the kids that we're doing pretty much doing the same thing we've been doing — except for helmets and a lot more coaches out there,” the coach added.
“What I'm looking for is hopefully the kids have retained what we've been doing the past month. I know they don't remember everything we did last year, but we've pretty much put the playbook and everything back in during July — so I'm expecting them to retain information with a helmet on.”
With nine starters returning on each side of the ball, Schaub is optimistic about his team’s experience. But as much as the coach enjoys the leadership potential for a senior class that is 16-deep, he’s equally excited to see which of his younger players emerge as the Bulldogs’ newest stars.
“I'm really excited to see what our young kids can do, because a lot of kids have gotten a lot bigger, stronger and taller,” Schaub said. “I know what our older kids can do, but I'm really curious to see how many kids emerge that were little youngsters last year.”