Football players flock to summer workoutsPublished 8:26pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013
It was a beautiful sight. Tractor tires ratcheted up steadily like a rollercoaster then plummeted to the ground while the sled streaked across the slick morning grass. In the front of the Pam Pack practice field receivers caught tightly wound spirals while in the back defensive players shifted into coverage like synchronized swimmers.
It was enough to bring a smile to any football fan’s face, especially Washington coach Sport Sawyer, who looked on and counted nearly 50 varsity players at his voluntary summer workout, which is nine more players than he had during last season.
Success breeds success and after the Pam Pack went 10-4 last season and made it to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 1956 Sawyer is now reaping the rewards of the team’s resurrection.
“I think the guys are having fun and winning games is also fun,” Sawyer said Tuesday morning. “I think the guys are very excited about what we did last year and are also looking forward to the new conference schedule so they’re coming out.”
The workout took on a regimented yet loose vibe as players practiced in helmets and T-shirts with the goal of tightening up before the preseason officially begins.
“What we’re doing here is basically skill development,” Sawyer said. “The guys are do some drills and then we do some seven-on-seven. Basically, it’s an extension of the spring but we’re doing a lot skill development.”
The workouts also give Sawyer and defensive coordinator Jon Blank a chance to evaluate the progress of their players.
“You look for what players have developed in the offseason and have gotten stronger or faster or worked on their hands,” Sawyer said. “Then also you see the guys who haven’t. What you’re trying to do is get a gauge of who our players are going to be during the season.”
Sawyer said so far this summer the efforts of his upperclassmen have stood out the most.
“Right now the work ethic of the seniors has been pretty good,” Sawyer said. “Our senior group this year is continuing from last year’s seniors. They’re very dependable and have been working very hard.”
The voluntary workouts also offer the Pack coaches a chance to work on some Xs and Os.
“We do start putting in a few plays here and there,” Sawyer said. “We want to have a basic offense and a basic defense put in by August 1.”