Turchetta’s team tough, talented

Turchetta’s team tough, talented

Spring Hill High football coach Tom Turchetta says he has his team way ahead of where they were at this time last season heading into the preseason scrimmages.

Spring Hill High School football coach Tom Turchetta says he has his team way ahead of where they were at this time last season heading into the preseason scrimmages.

He spoke with Spring Hill Home Page just prior to the team’s final practice before facing Lipscomb Academy in a home scrimmage at 6 p.m. Friday.

“You never know how a team’s going to be heading into the season,†Turchetta said. “There are always circumstances beyond your control. But what I like about our team this year is that we’re way ahead of where we were last year at this time. Last year our staff was new. We had no spring practice. In those aspects, we’re ahead.â€

One of Turchetta’s main focuses going into Spring Hill’s home scrimmage Friday against Lipscomb Academy is getting his players to be as physical as possible.

“Our practices are not easy,†said Turchetta. “They’re pretty tough. Many of these guys [on varsity] have been strong in practice and they understand the level of physicality that you need. So they’re doing pretty well.â€

As with any high school team, Turchetta is looking for some rapid development from his freshmen and sophomores.

“Where I’m concerned,†Turchetta said, “is that our younger guys aren’t progressing as quickly as I would like. And that’s normal because they’re still learning. They don’t yet understand the physical nature of it. A year from now, because they’re a talented group, they’re gonna be pretty good players. But at this point, they’re just sophomores. That’s a positive. The negative is some of them have to play.â€

Turchetta expects a lot from his players, but also strives to encourage them when they do things well.

“It’s still high school football; I understand,†said Turchetta. “But all of them, including these young guys, are going to have to start showing us that they have a clue about what’s going on. These guys have got to learn about being on time, and doing all the things they’re supposed to do. And we’ll keep teaching them, and teaching them. But a day very soon is going to come when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do and they’re going to get their chops busted.â€

As stiff as the discipline is, Turchetta does not hold off on complimenting his team.

“But this group is a very talented group, too,†he said.

Jahmal Steele is a sophomore running back and cornerback with the varsity squad who has a lot of confidence about his team’s prospects for the season.

“We’re going to win the championship,†said Steele Thursday. “We’re going to have a great year.â€

Junior center States Labrum shares Steele’s hopeful outlook.

“I think we’ll be better than ever,†Labrum said.

“We will be better than we were last year,†said Kennedy Ross, a sophomore playing tight end and linebacker.

Freshman Michael Merritt gave some insight into why so many players expect the young guys to make big contributions.

“Honestly, we’re bringing two powers together [on the freshman team],†said Merrit, who played on the E.A. Cox Middle School eighth grade team in 2013. “We’ll be a collaboration between guys rising from Cox and Spring Hill Middle School. Last year was the first time in a long time that Cox had a good team. And one of the only two teams who beat us was Spring Hill Middle. Now players from both of those teams are with Spring Hill High.â€

The head coach of the freshman team is Rick Brackney.

Assistant Coach Rodney Lockridge is also working with the freshmen this season as an intern while studying at Middle Tennessee State University. A player under Turchetta when the latter was a coach at Columbia Central High, Lockridge was happy to have an opportunity to reconnect with his former coach as an assistant.

In addition to Friday’s home scrimmage with Lipscomb, Spring Hill will play at Forrest Aug. 8 and will also travel to Columbia Central’s football jamboree Aug. 15.

Spring Hill’s season opener will be an away game when they face cross-town rival Summit High School Aug. 22.

Staff writer Greg Jinkerson covers Spring Hill for BrentWord Communications. Contact him at greg@springhillhomepage.com or follow him on Twitter @JinkersonGreg.

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