Tiger squad shows intensity
It may have been 105 degrees on the field Thursday afternoon, but the Douglas High football squad showed the emotion and intensity of a crisp, fall Friday night during their first day of practice.
With head coach Mike Rippee barking instructions and encouragement, the Tigers ran through a variety of drills designed to improve speed, stamina and agility.
“We’re in pretty good shape,” Rippee said after the first day of non-contact two-a-days. “The kids worked really hard all summer. I was really happy with how it went.”
Rippee added that the three-hour morning and three-hour afternoon practices are designed to get the Tigers in playing shape as soon as possible. The players will put on the pads and run contact drills for the first time Monday.
Douglas High will host Battle Mountain on Friday, Aug. 28, and will travel to play McQueen on Friday, Sept. 4.
“We’ve got to get through the fatigue factor,” the coach said. “To be a good football team, you have to play hard in the third and fourth quarters. This is a necessary step.”
The Tigers will have three returning starters on offense and three on defense this season. Rippee said those numbers are smaller than in past years, but he’s not overly worried about a lack of experience.
“We still have a number of guys who saw a lot of time, especially on the defensive side,” he said. “I think we’ll be stronger on defense this year, but it’ll take a little time for our offense to adjust because we have a lot of new people.
“We need some seniors to step up and take the leadership roles and we’ll be fine.”
One of the factors that should make the Tigers stronger on defense is experience at linebacker. The depth at linebacker will allow DHS coaches to switch to a 4-3 formation, featuring four linemen and three linebackers with four defensive backs. The Tigers ran a 4-4 defense last season, which consisted of four linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs.
“We’re seeing a lot more offenses that try to spread you out,” Rippee explained. “This helps us adjust to that and still play the run. In this league, if you don’t stop the run, you’re not going to win.”
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