So far, so good.
Seven-year Shoemaker offensive coordinator Kendrick Pope was impressed.
“I was very happy with how competitive we’ve looked the first two days of practice,” he said. “I’m especially pleased because our intensity has been so high and it’s all without our guys putting on the pads.
“These have been the best first two days of practice since Coach Hall’s arrival.”
Channon Hall became head coach at Shoemaker in 2011.
“You always expect energy on Day 1 of practice,” Pope said. “What I’m very pleased about is there was no tiredness on Day 2. I’m seeing a lot of energy. On offense, we have a lot of competition for starting jobs and I think the competition is bringing out the best in everyone.”
Pope said he’s impressed with both Demetrius Taylor and Joseph Massey who are competing for the starting quarterback position.
“Demetrius looks very locked in,” Pope said. “And Joseph looked good, too. It’s a very healthy sign for our team that we have two high-quality guys competing for the starting QB job.”
Also making a strong impression on Pope is receiver Derrick Thomas.
“Derrick has had a very strong first two days,” Pope said. “He has stood out. He can stretch the field.”
Pope said he’s looking forward to Friday when he can watch his offensive linemen engage in some hitting.
“It’s tough to tell how well an offensive lineman is doing without the pads on,” Pope said. “But I do believe, overall, that unit will be very much improved from last year. It will be real interesting with that unit come Friday.”
A lot of talented offensive players from the 2013 Shoemaker team wore caps and gowns on graduation day in May.
“We do have a lot of key people to replace on offense this season,” Pope said. “But I still expect us to be a quick team and be able to set the tempo. I want us to be able to control the game for four quarters and not let the defense dictate what we’ll do.
“I want us to quickly establish our identity as an offense. I want to see a lot from our offensive line. I want to see that we’re tough and that we can run the ball.”
On Friday, Pope’s offense, in full pads, will square up with Shoemaker’s robust defense.
“We’ll have a lot to handle with our defense,” Pope said. “But it’s still very important that we run our offense at our tempo and that we remain disciplined.
“As for the season, three things are key: establish tempo, stay disciplined and take care of that football.”
Contact Allan Mandell at email@example.com or 254-501-7566 and read his column at KDHPressbox.com