Mineral Wells Index
By TONY EIERDAM
The “real” sounds of football filled Ram Stadium on a relatively cool Friday morning as shoulder pads and helmets of the Mineral Wells Rams collided to give the sounds of a football concert on the first day the team could practice in full pads.
The Rams’ offensive and defensive linemen, handcuffed the first four days of practice as the team by UIL rule practiced in shorts and helmets only, were eager to get in the trenches and trade licks.
Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence said he enjoyed the players’ enthusiasm and intensity despite their legs being a little worn with a week’s worth of work almost behind them.
“We were very pleased (with the first practice in pads),” Lawrence said. “I thought we were going to take a couple of steps back (Friday), but I don’t think we did.
“We went full speed and played well, and we didn’t have any injuries. All in all it was a good day.”
The coach said that one quality of putting on the pads is that the players slow down with the extra bulk.
“In shorts,” he said, “you are not getting the physical contact.
“In pads, you have to move a lot faster to get off a block or execute a block.
“The speed of the game actually slows down on the first day in full pads. The players will have to get used to wearing the pads and ramp it up a little to get to a normal level.”
Lawrence spent most of the latter part of Friday morning’s practice working with the defense of all squads. He liked what he saw on the defensive side of the ball.
“I was very impressed with the defensive line,” he said. “The offensive line scout team did a very good job and gave our defensive guys good work.”
Lawrence said the team is where the coaching staff wants it to be after a week of practices. The week ended with an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning.
“Defensively, we have put the schemes in that we wanted in by this time, and the same offensively,” Lawrence said. “I like our intensity and the way we have been firing off the ball on the line, and it gave the coaches a chance to see what the players are made of.”
Lawrence added that junior quarterback Caleb Acosta, in his first full camp as the starter, is progressing well. Last year, Acosta was the second-string quarterback through camp but replaced injured quarterback Dan Reay Turk just prior to the season opener last year.
Acosta kept the job and started all 10 games at QB in 2012.
This season, Acosta has the luxury of taking all of the snaps of the first-team offense.
Other quarterbacks seeing time on the varsity are freshman Trent Guinn and senior Colby Kissinger, who will start at receiver.
“Caleb has shown good leadership qualities, and he is throwing the ball well,” Lawrence said. “He is making the correct reads and directing the offense. He will be just fine.”
Lawrence did point out a few players, including Arlington Lamar transfer Elijuan Combs, as standing out during the first workout in full armor.
“(Sophomore) Tristian Seargent had a really good day,” Lawrence said. “He plays outside linebacker and he stood out. And Elijuan Combs is looking real good at the weakside end spot.
“He looks like he is a player.”