08/05/10 — Goldsboro practice

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Goldsboro practice

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 5, 2010 1:46 PM

Ahead of the original schedule.

A different atmosphere.

More than 70 players have reported for varsity and junior varsity football practice at Goldsboro High during the first three days this week. And fourth-year head coach Eric Reid couldn't be more pleased with the participation.

"Monday was probably the best (opening) day of practice we've had since I've been a head coach and assistant coach here," said Reid. "I think that success came from the summer workouts. The kids took it upon themselves to get into shape.

"The boys worked hard, their enthusiasm was high, and even our freshmen jumped into the water and started dog-paddling. We didn't have to hold their hands like we have in past years."

The Cougars posted a 12-3 record last season and emerged the Carolina 1-A Conference champions. The year ended with a loss to perennial powerhouse Southwest Onslow in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A (small-school) eastern regional final.

Goldsboro returns 18 starters off that team, including three preseason NCPreps.com all-state selections -- Jarran Reed, Andre Montgomery and Freddie Jones.

The combination of experience and some offseason transfers have Reid feeling as if he's experiencing a second Christmas.

"We've had some kids transfer back to Goldsboro and it's been a nice buzz," said Reid. "Their willingness to learn, their focus and their drive ... they've bought in (to the system) and I think they know they can achieve something special for the community and county."

Players worked out in the weight room before Wednesday afternoon's practice. Once they hit the field, it was 30 minutes of stretching exercises and then on to the "Wayne County Fair" -- minus the popcorn and cotton candy.

The "rides" involved different stations that challenged the players on fundamentals. The players encouraged each other as coaches barked out instructions during the drills.

"I've been so happy with the mental aspect," said Reid. "Monday was not a shock to them. They weren't worn out after conditioning and we were able to get them focused on what we're doing. Our first day was like day four or five (of preseason).

"We've been able to move through things at a fast pace. We're ahead of the original schedule. That's great because I'd rather be ahead than behind and that gives us the opportunity to prepare even more. That's been a blessing."

Goldsboro scrimmages against East Columbus and Clinton on Aug. 12 at Fayetteville State University. The Cougars open the season Aug. 20 at former Mideastern 4-A foe Wilmington New Hanover.