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Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Each year the University Interscholastic League and its Medical Advisory Committee evaluate the rules for early season practices for football, and this season football coaches were faced with more changes than in recent years.
The acclimation period was still a part of workouts while traditional two-a-days have gone away as teams can no longer do two practices a day on consecutive days. This season, though, the UIL allowed teams to don shoulder pads on the third day with padded girdles but no player to player contact.
The fifth day, contact is allowed and on the sixth day, teams can wear full pads.
Some coaches did seek clarification from the UIL on some of the changes, which was a change from previous years.
Also, many coaches across the state attended a tackling clinic at the Texas High School Coaches Association annual convention as the UIL works to make the game safer at their level.
It is too early to tell whether the changes will result in a different look to the game on Friday nights but coaches are taking the changes seriously and passing that onto their players.
Banquete and Hebbronville both decided to burn the "Midnight" oil when practices began last Monday. Banquete was on the field shortly after midnight, while Hebbronville came onto the field at about 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 6.
Alice will also start its first workout after midnight on Aug. 13, which is the first day their varsity players can begin workouts.
It is hard to miss the newly installed video board at Buc Stadium that matches the one installed at Cabaniss Stadium. They are the biggest video boards in the area and will catch eyes during the first scrimmages hosted by CCISD next week and during Week 1 matchups later this month.
Both district stadiums - and video boards - will be in use on Thursday, Aug. 30, the first day of the season as Veterans Memorial hosts Edcouch-Elsa at Cabaniss and Carroll hosts Gregory-Portland in the Battle of the Bridge at Buc Stadium.
High Hopes for Miller's Receivers
Second-year Miller head coach Justen Evans has much to be excited about with a very experienced team returning this season and his receivers are one of them. The Bucs have size with 6-foot-4 Bubba Lloyd and Cassius Clay, but also will debut Bubba's younger brother Adrean Lloyd and their replacement for the dynamic Laz Franco, Ralph Rodriguez. Rodriguez made a highlight-reel pick-six last season in a loss at Alice and Evans has high hopes that he can be just as effective as Franco was in 2017.
Breckenridge is Back
Ray's offensive drills were as crisp as you'd expect with a three-year starting quarterback, even on the first day. Brad Breckenridge's timing with receivers looked sharp and the Texans have reason to believe that this year, with an experienced offensive front, receivers and a running back, the offense can be as good, or better than it has been.
There is no doubting the drive that Breckenridge and the Texans have after losing InterZone playoff games the last two seasons, including missing the postseason despite a 7-3 season in 2016.
Alice, Flour Bluff, Carroll and Veterans Memorial all conducted spring practice but all four teams had players on the field during the first week but they were not varsity players.
The UIL has allowed teams that conducted spring drills to have practices for their freshman in the first week, while varsity players cannot report until the traditional second Monday of scheduled workouts.
It is a change that was welcomed by coaches, who say it allows them to become acclimated to their freshman players without having to worry about varsity practices.
Scrimmages to Watch
Teams can begin playing other squads this week as scrimmages will start across the area as early as Thursday. Here are few to watch:
Orange Grove vs. Moody, 7 p.m. Friday, Orange Grove
Rockport-Fulton vs. Ray, 7 p.m. Friday, Cabaniss Multipurpose
Refugio vs. Bishop, 7 p.m., Friday, Bishop
London, Mathis and Skidmore-Tynan, TBA Friday, Mathis
Odem vs. Aransas Pass, TBA Friday, Odem
Five Names You'll Know by November
Here are five Coastal Bend football players who you'll know by November, in no particular order.
Andrew Body, so., QB, Miller
Body saw time for Miller during the second half of last season, throwing for more than 1,200 yards and providing a running threat for the Bucs. With experienced starters up front and at skill positions, Body, who has attended Peyton Manning's passing camp, is poised for a breakout campaign in his first full season as the Bucs starter.
Jordan Kelley, fr., QB, Refugio
Like his older brother Jared, Kelley will see the field as a freshman for a team that harbors state title aspirations. Refugio coaches - who know a thing or two about great quarterbacks - have high expectations for Kelley, who could be the trigger man in a Bobcats offense more geared to the run in 2018.
Joseph Gonzalez, jr., QB, Veterans Memorial
Gonzalez saw his role increase in the second half of the season last year as David Soto missed time due to injury, including throwing the game-winning touchdown pass in the Eagles' comeback win over Flour Bluff. Gonzalez's success at quarterback in 2017 will allow the Eagles to move Soto around and utilize his athleticism more as they try to build on last season's breakthrough.
Shenendoah Price, sr., RB, Calallen
The Wildcats have one of the best running backs in the state returning in Alec Brown, but Price will have more than his share of the carries in Calallen's Wing-T, filling a role vacated by Zach Hawkins.
Seth Gomez, jr., QB, Beeville
Gomez, another quarterback that saw time in 2017 due to injury, will get the keys to the Trojans' high-powered offense under Jerry Bomar. In action at various positions last year, Gomez had 523 yards passing, 473 yards rushing and 308 yards receiving, showing his athleticism.
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