08/02/12 — Southern Wayne newcomers impress Lee

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Southern Wayne newcomers impress Lee

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 2, 2012 1:49 PM

DUDLEY -- There was no shortage of intensity at Southern Wayne High School when the football team hit the field on this week.

Second-year head coach David Lee would not want it any other way.

"Our guys seem like they are genuinely excited to be out here," Lee said after a practice session concluded. "We have a lot of new faces, but those guys have come in and set a good tone over the first couple of days."

One group that has particularly impressed the head coach is the freshman class.

"You always have a few guys that don't come into practice prepared," Lee said. "They don't have a physical, or they aren't ready to go for some reason. Not this group of freshmen. They have been here ready to go from the first whistle."

Lee and his coaching staff will be closely watching several position battles leading up to the team's scrimmage Aug. 10 against South Lenoir. The Saints have plenty of players available with approximately 70 men in uniform between the varsity and junior varsity teams, but lack experience at key positions.

Southern Wayne returns just three varsity starters on offense from 2011.

"Last year we had the luxury of a big group of returning starters so we didn't have to spend as much time teaching the principals of the offense," Lee said. "This year we have kind of gotten back to basics over the first few days because we are still learning where some of our pieces fit."

Like all teams over the first five days of practice, the Saints have been primarily focusing on offensive schemes and conditioning during their morning workouts.

"We have been blessed that the weather has been good," Lee said. "It has been hot, but not unbearable, and when you only have 14 practices before the first regular-season game you have to make them count."

The N.C. High School Athletic Association rules state that all teams must practice for five days in helmets only before going to shoulder pads and eventually to full-contact next week.