As the 2017 football season opener arrives Friday night in Kaufman, Lindale Head Coach Chris Cochran is hoping his Eagles can make up for what was lost in preparation time with some pent up enthusiasm.
Due to spring football, Lindale was limited to a week less of practice than Kaufman but Cochran feels his group is raring to go.
“Our kids are really fired up,’’ said the first-year Eagles’ head man. “They were eager to get that first week’s game plan in their hands.’’
Kaufman was able to scrimmage twice in addition to its extra week of practice. Lindale, on the other hand, finished its lone scrimmage against Chapel Hill last Friday on the short end of a 21-9 score.
Cochran acknowledged that while the focus of all scrimmages is to see which players will be contributors, it was fun for his group to see something other than familiar faces across from them.
“It’s been two weeks of practice of going blue against white,’’ he said. “They were ready to see someone different.’’
The coaches were ready to see some different competition as well and Cochran felt there were positive strides taken.
“We made progress in some areas last week,’’ he said. “It wasn’t perfect by any means, but we did some things we were pleased with.’’
In 2016, Kaufman finished with an 8-4 season record (with one of those a season opening loss to the Eagles in Lindale) and a 5-1 mark in District 8-4A. The Lions advanced to the finals of the area playoffs.
“They are impressive,’’ Cochran said of the Lions. “Their linemen are big and their defensive backs are athletic.’’
Some of the players to watch include quarterback Trey Collier, receivers Dre Prox and Casey Smith as well as linebacker Devyn Morris.
Collier threw for 923 yards last year and 10 touchdowns while Prox had 817 receiving yards, six touchdowns through the air and five on the ground.
Lindale has been using some version of a spread offense for several years and Cochran will utilize it once again, but said there will be times when the Eagles will operate with two running backs and get the tight ends involved as well.
Defensively, the coach believes his club will “continue to bring a physical nature to the game. We will be keeping things as simple as we can on defense but our kids will be playing fast and reacting to the play.’’
Cochran knows his club hasn’t been one of the popular choices for a possible playoff berth this year, but he also feels that if the Eagles show improvement through the pre-district schedule, they will be more than prepared when district play rolls around.
“Our goal is to get better week by week,’’ he said. “By the time we start playing district we should be running our offense, defense and special teams the way we need to. I’m really excited to see what we’re about this year.’’