Gators get going in "The Swamp"
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 3, 2010 1:46 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS-- With experience comes wisdom.
Aaron Sanders is the perfect example.
Entering his third campaign as the head football coach at Spring Creek, Sanders feels more comfortable with his position and more confident in the moves that have to be made in the early days of the fall.
"I am absolutely more comfortable and I think that makes the kids more comfortable," said Sanders, moments before the Gators' official season-opening practice Monday evening.
"It takes time for guys to adjust and now I have guys that have been with me for three seasons so they understand what I am looking for."
The first night of workouts featured 28 players participating and four more watching from the sidelines due to problems with their mandatory physicals. As is always the case, the first three days of practice will focus on conditioning.
The message in Sanders' pre-practice speech was simple, yet profound.
"Football is about attitude and I want guys that want to be here, so if you are not ready to work hard then you can go home," said Sanders. "It's going to be hot this week and the next three days are going to challenge you, but you'll be a better person and a better player for it."
Practice starts each day at 6 p.m. in Seven Springs.
With just 18 days to prepare for the regular-season opener against South Lenoir on Aug. 20, Sanders and his assistants will be eagerly assessing their offensive personal and trying to tweak their offense to fit the personnel.
"I feel like we have some pieces and our job now is to see how those pieces fit together," said Sanders. "We have had a pretty good summer and I think that I am as excited today as I have ever been going into a season."
After suffering back-to-back winless seasons in 2007 and 2008 the Gators got back into the win column last season with a non-conference victory over Dixon. That win did more than just give the fans in "The Swamp" something to cheer about.
"It gave us a reason to be a positive all the way to the end of the season and that has carried over into the summer and now into the fall practices," said Sanders. "Every day we have to come out and work hard to get better and that is a lot easier to do if everyone is thinking positively."