Tiger freshman start spring drills
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
The season doesn't kick off for 18 more weeks, but it's time for freshman football players at Hartselle High School to begin preparing for fall's slate of games.
Eighth graders, who will be freshmen this fall at Hartselle, began spring football practice on Tuesday, under the direction of Bob Godsey and the Tiger coaching staff. For this week, the coaching staff will concentrate on the soon-to-be ninth graders and starting April 25 they will welcome the returning players from last year's varsity.
"This week is an important week for the coaches and players alike," Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey said. "It will give the coaches a chance to know the players better and vice versa. Starting with them a week before the returning players lets the coaches show them what to expect from spring practice."
When the veteran players come in next week, the two groups will not practice together. The freshman will practice by themselves away from the varsity squad.
"It's a big jump from eighth grade football to the high school game," Godsey said. "We have to indoctrinate them on our schemes and how we practice. They need to know what is expected of them by the end of the first week. This is a learning process for them."
The eighth graders are already lifting weights just as the varsity does. Since February, they have come to the weight room at the high school after class to lift and prepare for the upcoming season. Godsey has been impressed by the dedication they've shown so far to the Tigers' strength program.
"The attendance at the workouts has been great," Godsey. "This group has shown a desire to work and get better. That's what you look for. As coaches were excited about this group, they have the makings of something special."
Godsey has seen a few freshmen make contributions in the past two seasons on the Tiger's varsity. For example, in 2004 ninth grader Michael Reed helped out the special teams on kick coverage early in the season and later saw time at outside linebacker. Reed finished the season with 24 tackles. Godsey feels there could be similar success stories in this group.
"Some of these guys might be ready to contribute somewhere this fall," Godsey said.
"But they won't work with the varsity in the spring. The jump up to high school ball is just too big."