LAMPASAS — Logan Irvin couldn’t do anything but watch.
Lampasas’ two-way standout, who was moving up from junior varsity and competing for the starting quarterback position, missed the entire 2012 season after suffering a knee injury on the first play of the Badgers’ first scrimmage last year.
The pain from the injury was intense, but the months following were torturous.
“For any football player, that is the hardest thing you can ever do,” Irvin said of being sidelined. “You have to sit there and watch others when you could be playing.
“I learned you don’t take anything for granted because you never know when you’re going to get (injured). Don’t take a play off, and do everything as hard as you can.”
Irvin, who was hurt while playing outside linebacker for the Badgers, feels faster than before and is eager to finally play his first varsity game, believing Lampasas has nowhere to go but up after last season’s 1-9 campaign.
“I don’t think anybody is expecting us to do very good,” the senior said. “We are underdogs, but I think we are going to surprise a lot of people.
“I want to show people that we are better than what they say we are, and I’m ready to get back and show people what I can do after not playing last year.”
Irvin, who is emerging as the Badgers’ top quarterback, is one of several unknown commodities within Lampasas’ program, however. First-year head coach Brian Emerson freely admits he truly has no idea what to expect from his team on the field this season.
“As far as execution and Xs and Os and carrying out assignments and making tackles,” Emerson said following the team’s first day of practice in pads on Friday, “who knows?”
The one thing the coach is certain of is the Badgers will be different than people remember.
While still a run-first offense, Emerson intends to throw the ball more often, adding numerous new formations to help disguise plays. Senior running back Steven Jazdyk still figures to be featured prominently in the backfield after finishing as District 8-3A’s fourth-leading rusher with 921 yards and seven touchdowns last year.
Defensively, the Badgers are undergoing fewer changes, allowing players to focus more on the fundamentals.
“Our main thing last year was that we did not execute a lot of things,” senior defensive end CJ Vega said. “If we’ll just execute from the start all the way to the end then we can be great.”
Despite having to deal with new terminology, plays and several new coaches, senior defensive tackle Nick Henniger is impressed with the amount of progress being made in his first week of practice.
“We are adapting to it all pretty quick actually,” he said. “(Philosophically) it’s really simple, we can understand what they are talking about, and it definitely works better.”
With little to compare his team against, Emerson, who took over the position following Jimmy Randolph’s resignation after one season as head coach, is anxious to see how his team reacts in its season opener Aug. 30 at Smithville.
More importantly, though, he wants to see how the Badgers handle adversity whenever it happens to arise.
“At some point, we’re going to come up against an obstacle and we’re going to come up against disappointment,” Emerson said. “How are we going to react to that? I think that is going to be the real key because right now we are undefeated, everything is great, and it is easy to be upbeat and optimistic.
“It is about that first setback or that first crisis that comes up. Right now, I think we’ll be fine, but that remains to be seen.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org