Photo by Denise Cathey
San Marcos opens first day of practice
At 7:58 a.m. at the San Marcos High School indoor practice field, head coach Mark Soto blew his whistle. His players huddled in front of him, each taking a knee.
“You’re going to fall down today,” Soto said. “Make sure you get back up.”
After a short pep talk from Soto, the players stood back up, jogged to touch the purple padding on the back wall, and broke up into their position groups to start stretching.
“Where’s my DJ at?” Soto shouted.
Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” blasted through the building almost immediately, as the Rattlers began their first day of practice.
Dressed in athletic wear and just helmets, the Rattlers moved to the outdoor field to start 45 minutes worth of conditioning drills.
“We wanted to see how many guys could go,” defensive coordinator Gilbert Rodriguez said. "When that body hits that point of, 'Do I quit, or do I keep going?' That was No. 1, that’s why we started off with the little circuit.”
The coaches pushed the players hard, putting them through medicine ball tosses, tire flips and plate pushes five minutes at a time.
“We told these guys to be ready,” Rodriguez said. “Some of them kind of stumbled a little bit, but they got it done. At the end of the day they figured it out.”
The players were allotted a 20-minute cool down period before picking things back up. The coaches shifted their focus to the more technical aspects of the game, such as alignments and reading the defense.
Rodriguez said that they intentionally slow practice down because it helps the team remember the specific responsibilities of each position.
“That’s big,” Rodriguez said. “When you have a team that’s coming back and they can remember a lot of just base stuff, you can graduate from that and go to something else.”
Overall, Rodriguez said the coaches were pleased with the team’s first day back.
“The retention was there,” Rodriguez said. “The retention was big from what they remember from the spring, what they remember from last year. I was very impressed with that.”
The team will continue practicing through the rest of the week, donning shoulder pads on Wednesday and full pads on Saturday. They’ll kick the season off at home on August 31 at 7:30 p.m. against Buda Hays.