Even before spring football began, Harker Heights players raved about head coach Jerry Edwards and his intensity during workouts.
Since spring practices started earlier this month, the praise has only continued to roll in about the fiery second-year coach.
But unbeknownst to the players, while football offers Edwards a bit of release therapy each day, it is partly because he feeds off his players as much as they feed off of him.
“You get out here with a bunch of good kids that just really like to work, and that’s exciting to me,” Edwards said. “So, I come out here and I feed off the kids, I feed off the coaches and we kind of all feed off each other and it’s a feeding frenzy, and that energy level just gets up there.”
The enthusiasm is already seeping into the defense, which has adopted a “No Fly Zone” slogan as it embraces the challenge of shutting down the passing game in scrimmages.
The defense will be a veteran unit next season, with eight starters returning, but Edwards also credits the unit for growing in his system, which he believes is already paying dividends.
“I think they’ve really got a good feeling of the defense,” Edwards said. “We’ve still got work to do. We’re not where we want to be. But we’re a lot further ahead than we were last year going into the season.”
Yet when asked what unit had impressed him the most Edwards actually went to the other side of the ball.
Heights will lose four of its five starters on the offensive line, but Edwards — who said he was pleasantly surprised by his depth up front earlier this spring — maintains that the unit has the makings of a strength come this fall.
“I think that was a big issue coming into the spring,” Edwards said. “And I think that our new offensive line coach has kind of got those guys going and identified some guys.”
Overall, Edwards, true to his nature, continues to be upbeat about the way spring practices are going.
Edwards is excited about the chance to improve, and the Knights still have plenty of time to do just that as the spring progresses.
“We just want to keep installing, keep getting sharper on offense and the defensive side of the ball,” Edwards said.
“Just work on our technique and be able to add some new wrinkles here and there just to kind of keep us multiple on both sides of the ball and just continue to improve.
“We’re not near where we want to be. We’re making good progress toward that, but we’re not near where we want to be.”