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 teamâ€™s final practice before facing Lipscomb Academy in a home scrimmage at 6 p.m. Friday.
â€œYou never know how a teamâ€™s going to be heading into the season,â€ Turchetta said. â€œThere are always circumstances beyond your control. But what I like about our team this year is that weâ€™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, weâ€™re ahead.â€
One of Turchettaâ€™s main focuses going into Spring Hillâ€™s home scrimmage Friday against Lipscomb Academy is getting his players to be as physical as possible.
â€œOur practices are not easy,â€ said Turchetta. â€œTheyâ€™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 theyâ€™re doing pretty well.â€
As with any high school team, Turchetta is looking for some rapid development from his freshmen and sophomores.
â€œWhere Iâ€™m concerned,â€ Turchetta said, â€œis that our younger guys arenâ€™t progressing as quickly as I would like. And thatâ€™s normal because theyâ€™re still learning. They donâ€™t yet understand the physical nature of it. A year from now, because theyâ€™re a talented group, theyâ€™re gonna be pretty good players. But at this point, theyâ€™re just sophomores. Thatâ€™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.
â€œItâ€™s still high school football; I understand,â€ said Turchetta. â€œBut all of them, including these young guys, are going to have to start showing us that they have a clue about whatâ€™s going on. These guys have got to learn about being on time, and doing all the things theyâ€™re supposed to do. And weâ€™ll keep teaching them, and teaching them. But a day very soon is going to come when they donâ€™t do what theyâ€™re supposed to do and theyâ€™re going to get their chops busted.â€
As stiff as the discipline is, Turchetta does not hold off on complimenting his team.
â€œBut this group is a very talented group, too,â€ he said.
Jahmal Steele is a sophomore running back and cornerback with the varsity squad who has a lot of confidence about his teamâ€™s prospects for the season.
â€œWeâ€™re going to win the championship,â€ said Steele Thursday. â€œWeâ€™re going to have a great year.â€
Junior center States Labrum shares Steeleâ€™s hopeful outlook.
â€œI think weâ€™ll be better than ever,â€ Labrum said.
â€œWe will be better than we were last year,â€ 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.
â€œHonestly, weâ€™re bringing two powers together [on the freshman team],â€ said Merrit, who played on the E.A. Cox Middle School eighth grade team in 2013. â€œWeâ€™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 Fridayâ€™s home scrimmage with Lipscomb, Spring Hill will play at Forrest Aug. 8 and will also travel to Columbia Centralâ€™s football jamboree Aug. 15.
Spring Hillâ€™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 firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ or follow him on Twitter @JinkersonGreg.