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Football: Plenty of changes for Farmers during spring practice
With Lewisville's football team transitioning in the first year under head coach Gregg Miller, spring practice for the Farmers had another added importance as the squad is undergoing multiple changes adjusting to new systems and staffs.
In addition to getting comfortable with the inner-workings of the new regime, Lewisville is transitioning from the spread attack it ran under former head coach Dick Olin to an offense primarily based out of the I-formation. On the other side of the ball, Lewisville is shifting to the defense Miller made a powerhouse while serving as coordinator at Katy.
Miller and the new staff got their final chance of preparation before fall practice when the Farmers held their annual Spring Game Thursday at Max Goldsmith Stadium.
"It went pretty well," Miller said. "It was a chance for the kids to get out there and have a lot of fun and we also had a good turnout from the crowd. I don't know how it has been in the past, but everyone was involved and had a good time. The feedback was that there were more people out watching the game than expected.
"The main goal on the field was to see the execution we had been working on for the past few weeks and to see how we transferred what we learned in practice to under the lights."
At such an early stage in the process, Miller was impressed with what he saw.
"I've been pleased with the transition for the most part," he said. "We're really looking at the effort, execution and playing physical, and we did a good job with that. There were a few disappointing things and some things we did really well. The good thing is it allows us to see where we are at and identify the things we need to be focusing on."
The game included four 10-minute quarters with a standard clock as the first-team offense went primarily against the first-team defense and so on.
"We weren't really looking at the score or worried about who won," Miller said. "We got better as a team, so everyone won in the end. We aren't as concerned with the score as we are with moving the ball and getting stops when we need to."
Miller also was impressed with an offensive possession that consumed nearly the entire third quarter.
"That was a good drive," he said. "The biggest change for us is that we're going to be much more of a ball-control team. We did a good job of it in that third quarter."
Miller said it appears the team is enjoying the new offense despite the early changes.
"We have a lot of formations with fullbacks and tight ends," he said. "And there are a lot of different blocking techniques and styles for the offensive line. It's a power offense and it can take a little while longer to adjust to. We have three quarterbacks we're looking at right now and they've all done real well.
"I also think they liked being able to go back to the huddle and gather themselves. There is more communication going on between the plays."
The receiving group, however, was a little more skeptical at first.
"I know a lot of the of the skill guys were kind of worried about going from four- and five-receiver sets to a lot of formations with multiple tight ends and fullbacks. They were kind of worried we weren't going to be throwing as much. But I think they saw that wasn't necessarily the case."
Defensively, the Farmers made strides as well.
"We're reading our keys a lot better than we were 18 days ago," Miller said. "We saw significant improvement and we're right about where we had hoped we would be. During two-a-days in the spring, we want to give them the knowledge to begin with. We don't want to try and reinvent the wheel in just a couple of weeks."
Always a hope, the Farmers also came out the Spring Game injury-free and had solid participation.
"We got some kids out of the hallways and onto the field," Miller said. "And we got some of the basketball guys to come out. They're very athletic. Coach (Gary) Collier and the other coaches do a great job of sharing the athletes. They get them to us on the football field and we'll try to push some of the football players to basketball and the other sports."
Miller added that the Farmers don't plan on having many "ironmen" this season.
"We have one or two guys that will go both ways," he said. "But we want to limit the players that are playing on both sides so they can get more saturation with their positional coaches. We really have to cut that exposure if they are playing on both sides of the ball."
While spring practice has concluded for the Farmers, they still have plenty of work to do during the offseason.
"We have a six-week weight program," Miller said. "We go four days a week for two hours a day. But it isn't just for football, it's a workout program for guys and girls and all sports. We need to get stronger all across the campus."