Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

August 2, 2013

The Heat is on: Two-a-days begin Monday, offer fresh new start for area teams

Corsicana — Steve Hoffman didn’t blink.

Didn’t hesitate. Didn’t clear his throat.

Didn’t need to.

“Crucial,’’ Hoffman said. “It’s crucial.’’

That’s how Hoffman described what two-a-days meant to his Corsicana Tigers, who will be at Tiger Stadium at 6:30 a.m. Monday to take the first steps of the 2013 football season.

They’re here — Two-a-days are here. They show up Monday in all their heat and glory. High school football teams all over Texas begin practice. Everybody is unbeaten. Everybody is headed for the state title.

You can cut the optimism with a knife.

Each of the nine teams in the Golden Circle start anew with their own unique set of problems and their own set of stars and dreamers — but everyone has the same dream.

For Hoffman, who was hired in April to head one of the most tradition-rich programs in Texas, the summer practices are “crucial.’’

“I came in late (in April) but the kids have been great. They have bought into what we want to do. But they still have a lot to learn and we didn’t have a full off-season,’’ Hoffman said. “And it will be our first time to be seeing  them in pads. You have an idea what a kid can do, but you don’t know until you see them in pads.’’

Hoffman wants a physical team and a smart team. His kids have to be. He runs a lot of formations, and his offense will be a unique hybrid — part spread and part Wing-T.

He wants to throw the ball, but he also loves the run.

“It’s a new system for these kids,’’ said Hoffman, who had Corsicana playing in a 7-on-7 league this summer for the first time in years. His 7-on-7 team had a chance to run some of his new offense and the team finished second in the Teague league. Corsicana’s linemen, who will be led by center Chris Jones, who started as a sophomore when Corsicana went to the state semifinals, won the Big Man competition this summer.

Everyone is anxious to see the return of quarterback Devontay Bell, who was out for most of last year with a torn ACL. Bell is back, and he’s running 4.5 40s these days. Nobody want to get back on the field and win more than he does, and every player on both sides of the line feels like this is going to be a big year at Corsicana.

“It seems like it couldn’t get here fast enough,’’ senior defensive end Donavon Hailey said. “We’re ready for two-days. We’re ready for a big year.’’

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