SoFloBulls.com by Matthew Manuri |
If you’re looking for the Estero Wildcats football team anytime this spring, you’ll find them at their practice fields, at five in the morning, making progress.
Estero kicked off their first official spring practice on Monday afternoon, but they’ve already gotten a head start. On Tuesdays and Thursdays before the crack of dawn, head coach Mark Jackson has his squad working on agility, conditioning and quickness in his “Commitment Camp”.
Tire, mat and footwork drills are his focus and over 60 athletes faithfully make the trip. Jackson said these camps will install a great sense of desire and discipline before practices intensify.
“Nothing’s going on at five a.m. other than you sleeping,” Jackson said.
It’s the first practice of the year so Jackson wants to go in “slow down” mode. He’s dealing with a lot of younger kids since his stars Sam Katona, Zimon Brennan and Nick Nataro have moved on.
Sophomores are going to have to rise up and take some starting spots. Baseball is still in session, which means he’s got some players he’s waiting on to suit up. Though he has some talented athletes on the way, Jackson admits this team has a lot more skill to develop on the field compared to the past.
“We aren’t the most blessed genetically in the world,” Jackson said. “We know that. But we’re going to relish in that. Because nothing beats hard work.”
Jackson said his Wildcats have gotten over 2,000 pounds stronger as a team, so there’s no absence of hard work. One of his players has increased his bench press by 120 pounds in the last three months.
Rising senior Cody Long has gained his fair share of weight, as well. The six-foot-four, 215-pound quarterback said the Commitment Camp is excruciating, but everyone is learning how to motivate because of it — even the young ‘cats.
“On day one, were already seeing younger kids step up and be leaders. So, I like what I’m seeing,” Long said.
USF is the 3rd school today to come show me some love!
— Cody Long (@longc11) May 5, 2014
Some recruitment sites have him down as a ‘pro-style pocket passer’, according to Long. He’ll have the opportunity to showcase the arm to potential recruiters Florida Atlantic, University of South Florida and Appalachian State now that Jackson is adding new formations. Continue Reading by Clicking Here
by Jerome Alexander Reed | NaplesNews.com
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