08/11/10 — Princeton practice report

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Princeton practice report

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 11, 2010 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Russell Williamson looked over the field as his team took part in special teams practice on Tuesday morning and saw a wealth of potential.

What the long time head coach at Princeton High School did not see was a wealth of experience. The Dawgs opened camp with 43 total players, including just six seniors. After losing an 18-man senior class last season, Williamson knows what challenges lie ahead.

"We need to work on a little bit of everything at this point," Williamson said. "Our young guys are coming along, but they lack the experience at the varsity level. There is only one way to gain that and it's by playing the games."

Despite the Dawgs' youth movement, Williamson has been pleased with what he has seen out of his core group of varsity prospects.

"I like this team. It's a lot of young guys, but a lot of guys that are ready to get down to business and work hard," said Williamson. "I will go to battle with this group just the same as I have any other team that I have coached."

Practicing in the early-morning hours has helped the Dawgs' coaching staff get off to a good start with a sophomore-heavy squad. Hitting the field from 8-10:30 a.m. has allowed the players to beat the heat of the day and has provided the coaches with energetic athletes.

The transition to afternoon practices once school begins and regular-season games get underway is something that Williamson knows will present a challenge.

"At some point you have to get used to it whether you want to or not," said Williamson. "So far it's been nice to be able to keep the guys fresh in the morning, but beginning in a few days all of that will change."

The Dawgs will host Charles B. Aycock for a scrimmage on Thursday evening.

"For a lot of our guys that will be there first time playing in a live varsity situation," said Williamson. "We will make some plays and look good for a series and then we will make a bonehead play or two, but that's just the way it is with guys that are still learning."

Princeton opens the regular season Aug. 20 at home against Hobbton. The Dawgs beat the Wildcats twice last season, including a second-round playoff meeting.