You’re always getting better or getting worse, but you’re never staying the same.
That’s how junior defensive tackle Everitt Rogers has approached every spring football practice during the last three weeks.
“We just work on all of our weaknesses and our strengths,” he said, “because if we just focus on our weaknesses, then our strengths become our weaknesses.
“So, we work on everything.”
But the Eagles aren’t the only ones who have put in extra work in the offseason.
After finishing with an overall record of 4-6 and a District 12-6A record of 4-4 in Todd Wright’s first year as Ellison head coach, the staff spent the last four months focusing on football.
“We’ve got strong kids, we’ve got fast kids,” Wright said. “We just had to get better at good, old-fashioned football techniques and kids communicating with each other.
“Technically, from a coach’s standpoint, we’re much further ahead than last year. We did a lot of football over the holiday, we wanted to become better coaches and a much better coaching staff, and so we didn’t lift as much in the period, and we did more football.”
Wright noted last spring the Eagles would go the entire fall season short one coach as he wanted to wait for the right candidate instead of rushing to fill the position.
Although Ellison is still currently short one coach, two new faces will join the coaching staff on the sideline this fall.
“We have one new coach who just moved here from the Vegas area, so he’s already in the building,” Wright said, “and he can do after-school practices, so we’re almost there. We’re close.
“We’ve got everybody either here or hired.”
Wright’s coaching staff will be completed this summer.
“We have one more coach from Houston coming,” Wright said. “We have coached together for years, so that will help his transition.”
The Eagles continue to prepare for the annual Green and White Game on May 23 at the Eagles’ practice field, and both the coaches and the players have one goal: Find their identity as a team.
Ellison is graduating 28 seniors from last season, but Wright has already begun to see the 25 juniors start to step up as leaders across the field.
“We’re in the second half of spring practice,” Wright said. ‘It’s time to develop an identity, and then look for depth.
“Now, we’re going to start focusing on those younger ones and start trying to fill in holes. Depth is where the good teams and the good programs beat you. Everybody’s got a first team, but not everyone’s got depth where they can roll in a secondary and keep everybody fresh.”
With so many new faces, the next senior class has already begun to see the younger guys buy into the program and have taken it upon themselves to show the new guys the way.
“We talk to them about grades, because it’s not all about football,” Rogers said. “We talk about their academics, talk about what they need to do on the field, and just talk to them and lead by example.”
The Eagles know they can continue to improve, and so the players are working on every aspect of the game.
Before spring football is over, though, Rogers is confident the team will be ready to come out and fight as a unified team because of the bond they continue to cultivate.
“Being back on the field with my brothers (is the best part),” Rogers said. “They all obviously work hard, and they come together as a team.
“Things are starting to come together.”