The York Comprehensive High School football team ended spring practice in reload mode after the May 22 spring game.
“You lose a state championship and you devote January, February March and April to weight lifting, conditioning and training,” said coach Bobby Carroll. “We couldn’t jump back into it.”
He said he has been pleased with the players’ response to the spring workouts as well as the interest from others.
“We’ve had a ton of college coaches come here this spring,” he said. “It’s good for the players to get out there and to be able to jump around and move around. We’ve started teaching new faces some new things.”
Carroll has been pleased with the level of participation for the spring workouts.
“We’ve had anywhere from 60 to 70 varsity participants and 40 to 50 JVs,” he said. “I think we had 40 to 50 ninth-graders for their week of spring practice.”
Carroll understands that many of the football players play multiple sports. “We’ve had a lot going on, including baseball and track,” he said. “Being the size school we are, we have to share athletes.”
“We don’t mind sharing. We just want them to take their time in with us, then they can go do whatever they need to do. Kids also have jobs.”
Carroll said spring practice gets the kids to thinking football again
”It’s an opportunity to find the weaknesses and to focus on the defensive side of the ball, including stunts and blitzes,” he said. “We want the kids to learn the coverages on offense and to get a basic understanding of the plays and what we’re trying to do.
“We want to try some people on both sides of the ball and see where they’re going to fit.”
Carroll said the goal is to have the 11 best players on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. “We try to two-platoon,” he said. “We do that pretty much over the five levels of our football program, from seventh grade up.
“We want everybody to get an equal number of reps, whether they’re good, bad or indifferent.”
The Cougars will come out of spring practice and transition into their summer weight lifting, seven-on-seven drills and conditioning.
“The 7-on-7 allows the players to get out there and run around a little bit,” said Carroll. “You establish who your quarterback is gonna be, who your primary receivers are and the defensive backs you can count on.”
Said Carroll, “If you’ve got a good football program, from the Little Cougars (6U, 8U) all the way up, you’re all doing the same things. It ought to get easier and easier for each young man each year.”
Carroll said the only thing York coaches cannot coach is effort. “They’ve got to be tough mentally and physically, show us a good commitment,” he said. “When the kids are disciplined and do the things we ask them to do when they’re supposed to do it, good things will happen to them.”
Carroll’s formula has proven to be successful. “Our kids in York have bought into to what we are doing,” he said. “We’re 42 and 13 the last four years.”
Carroll said 90 percent of the players are doing what the coaches ask. “The 10 percent that aren’t responding are the ones we focus a lot of energy on, trying to get them changed over,” he said.
He is aware of the strength Region 3-AAAA football brings to the table each season. “Rock Hill, Northwestern and Gaffney have won state titles,” he said. “Clover has won a state championship in the 2000s.
“Fort Mill had one of their better teams last season. Nation Ford moves up and down the field.”
Carroll points to the Cougars’ nonregion slate of game for 2015 – South Pointe, Boiling Springs, Chester, Irmo and Sumter – as no walk in the park.
“Hopefully, the nonregion games will prepare us for a tough region,” he said. “We have a bunch of great coaches in this region and a bunch of good kids that really love the game of football. They represent the Upstate extremely well.”
Wally Wilmore, who is gaining the attention of college scouts, feels good about the progress made during spring workouts.
“Being away from the football field the last four months makes you miss it,” he said. “I want to get back to where we were last year and win the state.
“We have a lot of potential, returning players that will pick up where they left off.”
The Cougars open a new football season Aug. 21 at Sumter.