The Middlesboro Yellow Jackets concluded their spring practices with an appearance in front of their fans at Bradner Stadium on Thursday.
While the event was more of a controlled practice rather than a full-blown intrasquad scrimmage, it was an opportunity for the players to get dressed out and be introduced to the crowd and show off some of the plays they’ve been working on the past two weeks.
“The kids looked rusty and we are, it’s spring. But our knowledge is improving daily and our work ethic is improving,” new Yellow Jacket head coach Zach Massengill said. “The kids are excited about what we’re doing, that’s the biggest thing.”
A crowd of several hundred Yellow Jacket supporters attended the practice. In addition to football, many of them participated in a silent auction and cake auction. Also, with election day coming up several local candidates in attendance were recognized in front of the crowd.
“I was really pleased with the turnout. I thought we had a lot of people here and a lot of excitement,” Massengill added. “We were also able to raise a little bit of money.”
While much of the spring work has involved Massengill and his staff getting to know the players and the players getting familiar with their new coach and his expectations, the Jackets have been able to install their basic offensive and defensive packages.
The coach continues to be pleased with how quickly the players are picking up his system.
“I’m impressed that we’ve learned as much as we have in basically nine practices. Their learning curve has really shocked me,” he said. “We’ve had to keep things pretty simple so far with all the new stuff, but they’re coming around and they’re starting to understand why we’re going to do what we’re going to do. That’s the important thing right now is that know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”
Middlesboro, coming off a 9-3 season that included a district championship, will open the 2014 campaign at Grant County on the next to last weekend of August. The Jackets will scrimmage at Corbin the week before the season starts in the SEKC Gridorama.