Breyon Jackson wants to establish a precedent.
After Copperas Cove gave up 411.6 yards per game in 2013, allowing at least 42 points in each loss, the Bulldawgs’ second-leading returning tackler can already see improvements, and he plans to prove any doubters wrong once the season begins in August.
“I think our defense is going to be pretty nasty this year,” he said.
Success during the regular season, however, starts now, and Jackson intends to set the tone for 2014 during the upcoming Texas 7-on-7 Championships.
“We have to bring an attitude to the game if we are going to be one of the best in the state,” he said. “Having that mentality at 7-on-7 can definitely make us better during the regular season because we are about to face some of the top talent in the state.”
Despite being known for their offense after leading Class 5A by averaging 518.9 yards per game last year, the Bulldawgs’ defenders are taking their roles very seriously, especially Jackson, who is looking to deliver a statement in Copperas Cove’s first trip to state since 2010.
“I want this championship badly,” he said. “I want to go up there and blow it up, but we all have to communicate with each other, stay on the same page and not have any mental breakdowns.”
The Bulldawgs will be making their 11th appearance at state when Division I competition begins July 11 at College Station’s Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.
Until then, however, the Bulldawgs’ defensive players are scrambling to stay on top of their game.
While strength and conditioning programs are currently going on, 7-on-7 league play concluded last week and there are no competitions remaining on the schedule.
Some players are coordinating workouts with teammates to stay sharp, while others are doing individual drills to maintain their skill levels.
Other players, however, are going even further to ensure they are ready for state.
First-year varsity player Justin Joe spent his weekend in Round Rock, attending the second annual Aaron Williams Lone Star Showcase. Williams was a former standout at Austin McNeil before playing at Texas, and the safety recently signed a four-year, $26 million extension with the Buffalo Bills.
The experience was invaluable, according to Joe, a senior linebacker.
“I’m getting my skills up and learning new techniques from the best in the game,” he said. “There were NFL and college players helping us. I learned a lot there.”
Now, he hopes the knowledge translates to the field when the Bulldawgs make their return to state. More importantly, he hopes it carries over to the regular season, but like Jackson, he knows a tone needs to be set immediately.
“We have good athletes, who can all do their jobs well,” Joe said. “It’s seven men doing their jobs, and at state, we have to work together as a machine.”
7-ON-7 STATE TOURNEY INFO
- July 11-12 at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex, 3101 Harvey Road, College Station.
- Four teams in each pool.
- All teams will play three games on Friday.
- The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Championship Bracket Saturday morning while the remaining two teams from each pool will advance to the Consolation Bracket, also played Saturday morning.
- All teams will play at least one game on Saturday morning.
- All-time Copperas Cove appearances: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2014