Football begins practice Aug. 9

William Thompson

Tucumcari High School football coach Dub Smith said his 2004 Rattlers will begin practice Aug. 9 and a time has been scheduled for all players to get their physicals next Wednesday morning at Rattler Gym.

“Players can get their physicals from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Aug. 4,” said Smith. “They will need to bring $15 cash to Rattler Gym that day in order to get their physicals.”
Smith said two-a-day practices will begin Aug. 9 and last from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday though Friday of that week with once a day practices commencing the following week. “During the two-a-day practices we will give the players a 30 minute break in between sessions,” said Smith. “Our main concern is our players. We will make sure to give them plenty of water breaks and we strongly encourage each player to report any problems they may be having with the high temperatures.”

Smith said all assistant coaches have returned for the 2004 season and that continuity will contribute to rapid installation of the offensive and defensive systems his team will employ this season. “We will be able to install our entire offense during the first three days of practice,” said Smith. “Coach Wayne Ferguson will be our defensive coordinator and our offensive line coach. John Span will coach our defensive secondary and receivers and Gary Hittson will return as our specialty teams and running backs coach.”
Smith said Principal Gary Salazar will be out on the practice field this season.

“Mr. Salazar will be working with linebackers and backs and Milton Brown will be an all-around motivator for us,” said Smith. “Middle school coaches Eddie Encinias and Bryan Dunlap will also be working with the high school players.”
Smith will be calling the offensive plays this season and said he will rely on his time-tested “ball control” offense to win games this season. “We will throw the ball to keep other teams honest, but we will be running the ball a lot,” said Smith. “If we control the ball then the other team can’t score. We will run a lot of the same plays under a variety of formations.”

Smith said he recognizes that football is a game of heavy physical contact, but hitting won’t be overemphasized in his practices. “Once we put the pads on we will find out who likes to hit and who doesn’t, but during practices we won’t be hitting as much as in games,” he said. “I want to keep our players injury free and also get them hungry each week to hit during the games.”