Walker Valley football coach Glen Ryan leaned back in his office chair and took a deep breath anticipating a long weekend of rest. Ryan, his assistants and the Mustangs have put in many hours of work since practice started two weeks ago and the coach figured it was time for a short break before a week of two-a-days beginning Monday.
"We just finished another week of practice. We had a good week," said the tired coach. "We start two-a-days next week. We have picture day next Friday."
The Mustangs follow with a minicamp July 30-31 when they will put on pads for the first time.
"We are going to take advantage of every minute we've got and do a two-day minicamp up here that will be all day, both days," he continued.
Glen said he is pleased with the continued progress of the Mustangs. The coach stated the team is working hard to get stronger physically and mentally. The strength and mental toughness, Ryan said, can go a long way to make up for a team's shortcomings.
"They are still pushing hard. But, they are kids. Sometimes you have to light a fire under them. They attitudes have been good. We are just working on those little things, being a blue collar football team that comes to work every day," he said. "Our goal is to get stronger and more physical so we can be a better football team. That can make up for a lot of things. If you are strong and hard nosed and you hit somebody in the mouth, you can make up for some of the other things. We can't do a lot about our speed. A lot of that is genetics. We are what we are. But, we can get stronger. We can get tougher. That is what we are focusing on."
Hard work in the weight room is beginning to put a smile on Ryan's face. The Mustangs' coach feels some of his possible starters are finally reaching the point where they need to be.
"They are pushing hard. We have made some big gains in the weight room and are starting to get guys at least where they need to be for this level of football. We were not anywhere close in the past. We had a good offseason. We've got guys now that, when you look at their weights you can say they are a high school football player," Ryan elaborated. "Our front line guys, the guys we project to start for us are all up there where they are respectable now."
All the hours of work and practice do take their toll. Ryan gave the Mustangs and their coaches the weekend off before starting a full week of hard work.
"You've got to (put in many hours),” Ryan said of the workload. “This time of year there is a lot to do. I will chill out a little bit tomorrow and probably come back up Sunday and do some mowing to get ready for next week," he said of his short respite. "But, that's just part of it. I think if you go around and see a lot of the high school coaches in the area right now, you'd probably find them the same way, kind of a little tired.
"I wouldn't have it any other way. This is my passion. This is what I love doing."
With work on the practice field, weight room and classroom ongoing, the head Mustang said things are taking shape. He welcomes visitors to the practice field to watch the team prepare for the quickly approaching season.
"Parents have been coming to watch practice and that is always a good thing. I don't ever mind parents coming to watch practice. It's good for them to see what their sons go through. It helps them understand a little bit. We are just trying to get things ready," said Ryan. "It will be here quick."