Energy and focus are how Burnet High School head football coach Bryan Wood described the Bulldogs’ practices during the first week of fall training camp Aug. 4.
“The energy is good,” said Wood, who is in his first year as the Burnet head coach. “There’s a learning curve right now. We’re trying to go fast but not too fast. Their focus has been good, and their energy has been good.”
Burnet has 62 players in grades 10-12 in uniform and another 43 playing on the freshman squad.
“We want to have more upperclassmen staying in the program,” Wood said. “We have to keep more kids as they get older.”
Everyone is learning Wood’s playbook, including the players vying for starting spots. The Bulldogs will have a new starting quarterback and running back in 2021. Three players have been taking snaps, while four others have been placed as running backs.
By far, the group that has the most experience and has shown better understanding of what is required are the linemen, Wood said.
“I think our linemen may be our strength because the quarterback position is wide open,” he said. “Our backs have been in sync with our linemen. We’re rotating four running backs, and we knew we were going to have to rotate them because all four have a chance to play on defense.”
The Bulldogs enjoyed “a great” team meeting Aug. 2. Wood divided the whiteboard into two halves with a question on each: What are the things that hurt our football team? What are the things that help our team? He asked the players to give verbal answers to each question. Answers included being on time, trust, and being good teammates.
“I call it ‘clearing the air meeting,’” Wood said. “It’s me and 32 guys saying what we think.”
The meeting was important to help establish expectations for practices and in the locker room.
Wood is happy with the way the Bulldogs are responding. While he is the quarterbacks’ coach, he walks up and down the offensive line talking to and correcting all players, no matter their positions. The Bulldogs nod during the short conversations before Wood steps back to watch them snap the ball and run a play. Those responses and the way the athletes are playing tell Wood plenty about the character of his team, he said.
“If you’re not focused, we’re not going to go as fast as we need in our install,” he said. “Focus is more important than energy level. I need to see energy because I’ll know they like football. Energy is a reflection of toughness.”
Burnet hosts Giddings in a scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, at Bulldog Field, 1400 Bulldog Stadium Drive.
The Bulldogs begin the 2021 season against Leander Rouse at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27, at A.C. Bible Jr. Memorial Stadium, 3301 S. Bagdad Road in Leander.