MOUNT VERNON — On the first day of football season, there are no records. There are no conference champions or basement dwellers. Everyone is 0-0.
Football practice begin in earnest on Monday. For the first time, Mount Vernon head coach Anthony Naples has had an entire offseason to work with and assess his players.
So far, he likes what he sees.
“We’re light years ahead,” said Naples after Monday’s practice. “Kids know our terminology and their coaches. We know the players. The organization and the camaraderie is there.”
Monday was the first time the Yellow Jackets could work in a full practice setting, running plays and establishing routines for the rest of the season. Until then, players lifted weights and worked on conditioning independently. Naples has encouraged this, setting schedules for players to come in and take advantage.
The results showed on Monday, as players looked a lot more fit than they did one year ago.
Offseason camp is a good time to learn the nuances of new positions. When practice starts, roles should be established.
That’s true in the case of senior Brandon Porter, who will begin the season as a wideout and a safety.
There was much uncertainty heading into the start of the 2011 season. Naples had not had a full offseason, and a true routine could not be established. Porter was the starting quarterback in the opening game that season; he was later moved to running back and, eventually, focused strictly on defense.