In its second season under head coach Brent Graham, Salado will not only be moving up in classification but having to replace nearly every key piece of its explosive offense from a year ago. But the Eagles feel encouraged after a strong spring of workouts and are eager to continue the offseason. Graham elaborated on the Eagles’ offseason in a conversation with the Daily Herald’s Jordan Mason.
How do you feel like your guys ended the school year?
It’s exciting to know that our baseball team went as far as they did because we have a lot of guys that play baseball but also play football. So we want our kids to compete year-round at a small school. They’re constantly in season and constantly competing. It’s a lot for them to be on top of their game, and that’s a good thing. I felt like that we finished the year off right. We’re on the right track. Obviously, our summer is pivotal for the success of our fall. So, we’ve got a pretty good turnout with our summer workout program, and I’m looking forward to seeing some great improvements over the summer leading into the fall.
In 7-on-7 are you playing schools closer to the size you’ll see next year in Class 4A?
Yes, and I think it’s helping us, too, playing in Georgetown. It’s a different caliber of football. So we definitely enjoy that. We know that the success as far as wins and losses go, we don’t really count that. We like the competitiveness of it, we want to play up, and that’s the kind of the type of kids we have here in Salado. They don’t thrive on just winning, they want to play the best of the best. And we’re doing that. This past Monday we did really well. So we’re just taking that in stride, trying to get better every day in everything that we do. Obviously the state qualifiers are fun, but that’s not the telltale sign of how good you’re going to be in football when the pads go on. So we’d definitely like to get the opportunity to qualify and go to state because I think that the way they make it now is a pretty fun experience for the kiddos. But like I said, that’s not the telltale sign of how successful you’re going to be in the fall. But it does give our kids an opportunity to compete. We enjoy that, and I think that they enjoy being around one another and just having that opportunity to play together.
Where do you feel like the focus needs to be once 7-on-7 wraps up and you head into the fall?
Going into the fall, the biggest thing to us is just being in shape, being proactive to prevent injuries and things of that nature. A lot of times, injuries occur during the fall when kids are tired. Our job, our focus after 7-on-7 is done, is to get them ready, get them acclimated because everything else is going to work itself out. We’re only going to put on as much stuff X and O-wise as our kids can handle. We don’t want our kids to be confused. We want them playing fast, playing hard, leaving everything on the field. So the biggest thing is to try to get them acclimated to the heat, get them acclimated to what’s going on, continue to train them in the weight room to prevent injuries, and the rest works itself out. It’s another year that we’re going to put a notch in the belt and go out there and do everything that we do to try to be the hardest-working, most-disciplined and best-prepared team in Texas. So that’s kind of our motto as an athletic community and we carry that over into football as well.