Under the hot Alabama sun, the Enterprise Wildcats are hard at work under new head coach Rick Darlington as intense, competitive spring practices have gotten underway.
The Wildcats are competing in all phases of practice, offense vs. defense, with a point system and everything.
“I think we’re competing in drills and in team sessions really well,” Darlington said. “That’s what we want to instill in these guys. We want them to hate to lose and fight to win.”
One of the more intense competitions is a different take on an old-school drill called “The Tunnel.” Football players for decades have likely competed in this drill under various names, whether it be “The Alley” or the “Oklahoma Drill,” and for Enterprise it pits three defenders against three offensive players and a running back with a simple objective: the offense wants to score and the defense wants to stop them.
That physical, intense drill is just one part of Darlington’s practices but he acknowledges that no matter what the team does, it’s difficult to get everything done during the 10 practices allowed during spring.
“I think we’re being more physical than they’ve been in the past,” he said. “We’ve really been competing well so far. It’s tough to get all that you want done and see a lot of improvements in 10 days. It’s really just a launch point for us and we’ll have to have good carry over in the summer.”
Darlington does see two advantages for his team with one of these being the ability for his players to take a physical education/football class during school days where coaches are able to do film study and a lot of the preparation work for installing the offense and defense the team will use this season.
“We’ve spent a lot of time during the day in class on install,” Darlington said. “Knowledge wise, we’re way ahead of where most teams would be right now because of that. If I was just starting off with this group that would be really tough.”
Another advantage is Darlington’s son – a senior quarterback – Jackson Darlington who is able to bring his knowledge of his father’s offense to the team and especially help with younger players in learning it.
“Doing it without him would be really hard,” Rick Darlington said. “There are some things that inherent (here) that are working for us. Being able to install during class and having Jackson here is really helpful. That gives us a little bit of a jump.”
The Wildcats will conclude week two of spring practices this Friday with a Blue and White Scrimmage held Friday, May 10, at Wildcat Stadium at 1 p.m. before closing out the spring on May 17 with a game against Park Crossing at Wildcat Stadium at 7 p.m.