Practice begins for Pack

Published 8:46 pm Monday, July 30, 2012

Washington running back Trey Spruill (2) runs with the ball during the Pam Pack’s first practice of the preseason on Monday at Washington High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Whistles, cones and pads were out in full force on Monday as the Washington football team kicked off its first day of practice. A dark sky hovered over the Pam Pack coaches and players but it could not dampen the spirit of Washington coach Sport Sawyer.
“We’re very pleased with the turnout,” Sawyer said. “We’ve been averaging about 60-65 guys this summer and today we got about 80 when it’s all totaled together.”
Over the next six days the Pam Pack will practice with light gear on until the school holds it’s Midnight Madness Blue and White scrimmage Friday night/Saturday morning.
“The first couple of days are almost and extension of the summer,” Sawyer said. “But Wednesday we are able to add shoulder pads and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we can start doing a little bit of thud against the pads and then Friday night/Saturday morning we will have our scrimmage.”
Washington returns 25 players from last year’s team and Sawyer, along with fellow Pack coaches Jon Blank, Fritz Tanner, Jerome Tyson, Gill Broadway and Eric Peartree, expect the high number of veterans will speed up the team’s learning curve.
“Having some leadership out of these guys is big,” Sawyer said. “The experience and confidence built from some of that is real big. Practice is always, always about teaching but hopefully we won’t have to teach the very, very basics and can move on to some of the more advanced stuff.”
Washington has several leaders on the team and the Pam Pack’s ninth-year coach expects them to help out the younger players.
“Jimmy (Williams) Jack Rodman, Stephon Moore and Dillon Cutler and really all my seniors need to do that,” Sawyer said. “A lot of these guys have been playing varsity ball for three years and they need to be coaches on the field and we’re looking for that.”
Until the Pack can don pads, conditioning will be a major theme at practice.
“Conditioning is very important,” Sawyer said. “They have been going all summer so it’s not like they have been just laying around but there’s nothing like game conditions. Until we get them in full pads we will just have to wait and see what kind of condition they’re in.”
Sawyer will get his first look at the team in full gear on Aug. 11 when the Pam Pack plays its first scrimmage at Edenton.