After getting a first-hand look at the players trying out for the Muskie ‘C’ program, head coach Rob Tysz came away feeling optimistic that this could be a very productive year.
Tysz felt all the players, which included two females, were impressive at the two-day spring camp this past weekend at Westfort.
In fact, he admitted he was surprised the players showed as much athleticism as they did, especially considering many of them were on a football field for the very first time.
“We had 37 real good young players,” enthused Tysz, who was head coach of the Muskie ‘B’ team last season. “We had a heck of a good weekend.
“We had some really small grade sixes and some bigger, older kids who are suited for the line,” he noted.
Tysz felt the team, designed for players in grade seven and eight, should have a good combination of speed and size. But more important, they showed a strong ability to grasp what the coaches were trying to teach them.
He said that will work in their favour as they get more involved with strategies and plays this fall.
“We went in there thinking these players had no background in football and we were teaching them the basic skills,” Tysz admitted. “Our focus was real high on fundamentals and we taught them the basic skills and they all seemed to really enjoy themselves.
“Everyone worked really hard and they walked away with a feeling that they wanted to come back,” he added.
While he said they will run some very basic plays in their first season, choosing to keep things simple until the players reach the ‘B’ level, he noted plays may get more complicated.
The spring camp was broken into two separate types of practices. On Saturday afternoon, the players were put through a series of drills which tested their physical conditioning, speed, and strength.
They were tested in the customary 40-yard dash, the shuttle run to test their endurance and speed, and they also tried to perform as many push-ups and sit-ups as they could.
Tysz said everyone received their times and test scores, and were encouraged to work on improving those times during the summer. They will be tested again when they are back on the field, along with the Muskie ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams, for the main camp starting Aug. 16.
Then on Sunday, the players were put through different drills, including a series of ones which gave them a chance to test their skills at each position.
The players rotated through stations set up for running backs, defensive backs, and offensive and defensive linemen.
“All the players worked really hard in learning each position so they can decide which position they would like to play,” said Tysz.
“We saw a good mix of talents,” he added. “We rotated them so they could try their skills at each position, and it was like a coach’s dream in that we look strong at every position and the players were picking up what the coaches were telling them very quickly.”
Tysz said the two-day camp was the perfect length of time for the players to get introduced to the sport--and the Muskie program.
But he also admitted it’s not certain if they can keep all 37 players due to equipment restraints. The Muskie Touchdown Club already committed to buying equipment for 40 players but Tysz noted the ‘A’ and ‘B’ programs have first “crack” at it.
Still, he said it’s “too early to tell” right now and preferred to wait and see what happens when the main camp opens in August.