Last year, the East Jackson Comprehensive High School football team entered spring practice with one coaching staff, and began the fall season with an entirely different one.
This year, head coach Gary Hughes hopes to instill some continuity to the program as the Eagles begin their long offseason with a solid foundation to build upon.
“I do feel a lot better (about this spring) of course,” said Hughes. “June is never an ideal time to take over a program. We are starting to make some strides toward where we need to be.”
After a 1-9 season, the Eagles have room for improvement. Hughes believes that improvement must start in the offseason as the Eagle coaching staff works to continue to construct a program from the ground up.
“Hopefully, if we can get things going here, we can have some success,” said Hughes. “We just need to keep the attitudes good and keep working hard, and hopefully we can change the mindsets of what is expected around here.”
East Jackson has had approximately 75 kids come out for spring practice. That total number of attendees is up from last year; however, Hughes noted that the size of the team could fluctuate up or down before the start of the 2014 regular season.
The Eagles have a relatively small senior class coming back next season, but plenty of players returning who racked up experience in 2013.
“We do have a good number of juniors and sophomores,” said Hughes. “We have a bunch of kids coming back that are a year stronger and will have a better understanding of what my expectations are. That makes all the difference in the world – understanding what’s expected and trying to work towards that in the offseason.”
East Jackson ends its two-week spring practice session this Friday with a “Blue and Silver” scrimmage game.
The Eagles will be divided into two squads and compete this Friday as fans are invited to get an early look at the upcoming talent. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Eagle Stadium.
East Jackson will continue to hold regular workouts through summer and attend three seven-on-seven passing camps. The Eagles will head to camps in Commerce on June 5, and Athens on June 26.
East Jackson will also host a seven-on-seven “Eagle Camp” on June 19.