COPPERAS COVE — Jack Welch can hardly contain himself.
With one full week of practice complete and the team’s annual intrasquad scrimmage in the books, Copperas Cove’s longtime head coach is ready for the season.
He is ready for legitimate competition, and he does not want to wait another second.
“I want to play right now,” Welch said following Saturday morning’s team scrimmage at Bulldawg Stadium. “Let’s go. I’m ready.”
Realistically, the Bulldawgs’ longtime coach knows his players needs additional time to prepare for a schedule that opens with consecutive games against state-ranked opponents in Class 5A No. 4 A&M Consolidated and Class 6A No. 9 Lake Travis, but the schedule does not sway his impatience.
“We need the practice,” Welch said. “But, honestly, I wish we would just start playing.”
Copperas Cove must wait until Aug. 29 to open the regular season, but less than a week separates the Bulldawgs from their first encounter with another team since being eliminated from the playoffs by then-No. 2 DeSoto in November.
The team will travel to scrimmage Abilene on Thursday morning, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Although it will lack the intensity of a regular season game, simply lining up against someone other than a teammate has linebacker Jaylen Waters excited.
“I’ve been waiting since spring,” the senior said. “Actually, I’ve been ready to go since the season ended. I’m anxious. It’s been a long time, so just to have my helmet on is exciting. I’m ready.”
The sentiments are shared by senior corner back Breyon Jackson.
“I am really looking forward to playing Abilene,” he said. “I want to go against some different receivers and lock them down.”
While Jackson’s intentions are good, shutting down the Eagles is easier said than done.
A longtime preseason opponent of the Bulldawgs, Abilene is coming off a disappointing 3-7 season, but Welch knows their record does not reflect the effort they will display.
“I love scrimmaging Abilene because they are tougher than 40 acres of onions,” he said. “They are coached so well that they are going to show us our weaknesses, and that’s what we need right now.”
Regardless of how tough the competition, Copperas Cove right guard Remington Weis is eager to break the monotony of lining up across from his teammates.
“It is fun any time you get to play football, but it is just different when you go against someone else,” the senior said.
“We’ve been playing against the same guys all year. We’re ready for someone new.”