The chaos and consistent activity surrounding the first week of football practice is nothing new for Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan. The Mustangs are in the process of learning new staff, new sets and new routines, but the coach said it is all part of the growing process and through it all sees some good things beginning to take shape.
“We’ve got some potential. I knew they were working hard and we’ve got some guys that should be some pretty good ballplayers. I’m starting to see that more and more,” said Ryan before taking to the practice field Monday evening. Another thing I’m seeing is the attitude is changing.”
The Mustangs coach said through all the newness and learning who is who and who will go where, the attitude is good and getting better.
“Last week was a really, really good week for us as far as guys starting to do the things we have been looking for them to do on their own for a change, instead of us having to tell them to do it,” he said. “They are starting to take some ownership of the football team. That’s big. When you start seeing that you know you are on the verge of getting over that hump a little bit. We saw excitement. We saw guys having fun, working hard, but having fun doing it instead of acting like it was drudgery. From that standpoint, it was exciting for a coach to see that.”
Taking over a new program, as Ryan well knows, has its instant ups and downs. One of the ups he is instilling in the Mustangs is a sense of pride in who they are and where they spend a great deal of time, the field house.
“We could have probably eliminated some of the chaos by not doing the other things we are doing. But, I believe in putting pride back into the program by fixing things up and cleaning up rather than coming up here in a pig sty all the time,” said the coach. “That means extra work on top of the work we do football-wise. But, things are starting to settle in. The guys are starting to get used to the coaches’ routine.
Ryan said the new routine is not only new to the Mustangs, but the coaches as well. The staff is spending many more hours in conference and study.
“That’s different for them,” said the boss. Not only am I asking for more from the players, I am asking the coaches to put in some more hours, put in some time and take it seriously too. They have done a good job with that. Everybody has been working hard. There are a lot of positives going on right now and that is good to see. That does nothing but hopefully speak well for the future of the program.”
The Mustangs coach said, although pleased with what he has seen so far from the Mustangs, he fully expects to go through what every football coach across the state will face at some point during fall camp when the physical and mental stress of heat and constant training runs into the wall of letdown.
Ryan said the Mustangs caught a break in June when the mornings were cooler and less humid.
“They haven’t really had to push it in that heat yet. Tonight could be a test for them. We are going to find out, are they going to bust through that wall or let it get to them. It’s not going to get any cooler. When we put the pads on, they’ve got to be ready for that.”
The coach said when the wall does arise, the way to fix the problem is to go straight through it.
“We will push them. We just keep pushing them. We don’t let up. We just keep pushing right on through it. We don’t baby them. We’re not going to stop, take it easy and feel sorry for them. We are going to push them right through that wall and make them realize, ‘Hey, I can go,” the coach said.
The biggest thing the coach said is getting mentally tough enough to work through the pain and exhaustion.
“The body is an incredible machine. The only thing is, the mind is weak and we don’t always allow our bodies to do what they are capable of doing because we tell it we can’t. There is no such thing as ‘can’t’ out there. I don’t want to hear it. If you start feeling like you can’t, I don’t want to hear you say it. Just keep pushing and let’s get through it.”