A blend of newcomers and experienced players meshed together for three days of football camp at Ardmore High School.
The Tigers took the field again Monday-Wednesday to refresh the lessons from the spring before headed to football camp at Piedmont today. Ardmore coach Douglas Wendel said the results and numbers were pleasing, even with some players missing due to work and other obligations.
Even better for the Tigers was the depth in the upcoming freshman class, with 16-17 players on hand for the summer camp.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Wendel said. “This is the first year we’ve had a summer camp in a while.
“I feel good about it. I feel better about the attitude; the attitude is great, the work ethic is great. We’re just trying to get better at our individual positions and set the tempo for the way that we’re gonna practice.”
Wendel thinks the team is getting acclimated to the new offensive system after 10 days of spring ball and the additional offseason work. Among the standouts to Wendel were junior receivers Devin Reynolds and Carter Swanson, who showed off strong hands over the camp sessions.
“We’re not teaching anything new today,” Wendel said. “This week we’re just trying to grow step-by-step from what we did in the spring so we’ll be refreshed and have a clear understanding of it going into August.”
But Tuesday’s session was all about the other side of the ball for Wendel, who said his defense had its best practice of the offseason.
“We’re replacing nine people on defense, but as far as the camp has gone, the tempo, the attitude, the attention to detail has been wonderful,” said Ardmore defensive coordinator Josh Newby, who cited defensive back Jeff Surrell, linebacker Brendon Hemmingway and defensive lineman Elijah Clay and Darius Lawson as defensive standouts this offseason.
“That tells me right now they want to learn, and we’ve got a chance to be a pretty good defense if they keep those kind of habits.”
Wendel said he will be heavily involved in the gameplanning with new offensive coach Cory Russell, who arrived from Idabel to replace 2011 offensive coordinator Todd Scott. Other additions to the coaching staff include Ardmore alumnus Nick Clayburn (offensive line/inside linebackers), and Cody Fagan (outside linebackers/slot receivers), who hails from Texas.
“Best staff I’ve been a part of in 15 years,” Wendel said. “They’re up here all day every day this summer, and we’re gonna be ready to go.”
Erik K. Horne