Coach Glen Ryan has kept his Herd busy with a constant diet of weight room training as well as what could be considered more like Navy SEAL training than football conditioning.
"We have been going four days a week, Monday through Thursday from 8 until 10:30 in the morning," Ryan said of the pre-workout workout. "We have been getting after it in the weight room then doing what we call "The Pit." That is cross-training that is a little bit different than just the weight room. We get out and flip tractor tires, swing sledge hammers, do battle ropes, push sleds, carry logs and all kinds of crazy stuff."
In fact, Ryan is so proud of the way the Mustangs have pushed themselves and one another he wants Walker Valley football fans to see some of what it takes to play for the Blue and Gold.
Tonight at 7 p.m. at "The Corral," Ryan and the Mustangs are hosting the annual Night of Champions. Ryan said it will be a chance for people to see just how hard the team has been working over the summer break to get in shape for the fall campaign.
"If people want to see what these kids have been doing they can come up and take a look. They will be out on the field here at the stadium," he said. "We kind of use this to finish out the first half of the summer workout by having a big competition night. It's a big deal for us. We've been doing it the last couple of years."
The coach is also using the summer workouts to acclimate a large group of some 50 freshmen into the Mustang family. He said he is excited about the group which could very possibly include some who may even compete for starting time.
"They guys are working their tails off, the only problem is we are superyoung. We've got right around 90 players out, but 50 of those are freshmen. But, that freshman class is a good looking group," lauded Ryan. "They have come in here and haven't backed down from anything. Some of those guys are vying for some starting positions come fall."
The Night of Champions will also be the last contact Ryan or his staff will be allowed to have with the team before the two-week mandatory dead period mandated by the TSSAA.
The public workout may give family, friends, fans and the curious a chance to see an early version of the Walker Valley Mustangs, but it also is a chance to give Ryan and staff a chance to see who wants to get better now. The coach said he is looking for those who will push through pain and tough times today so down the line they can be counted on to stay strong when the going gets hard.
"It gives us a chance to see who really wants to get better. You can't have a football right now so you just have to gage based on toughness, and that is where The Pit comes in. We work on getting stronger in the weight room, but The Pit lets us see more who is going to be tough and fight through being tired and continue to give it everything they've got," said Ryan.
"It simulates what we're looking for out of who will be on that field for us on Friday nights. We want those guys who aren't going to quit and lay down when things get tough. We want the ones who will keep fighting through. That's where The Pit comes in; we are going to see who those fighters are."