Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:00

First day of spring practice sees Raider football set 'fearless' mentality

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THird-year head coach Bryan Till runs defensive drills during Monday's first day of official spring practice. THird-year head coach Bryan Till runs defensive drills during Monday's first day of official spring practice. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Monday afternoon couldn’t have been any prettier to mark the official start of Richmond Senior High School’s spring football practices.

The familiar sounds of whistles trilling and the snap of helmet straps returned to the practice fields on Richmond’s campus, as third-year head coach Bryan Till and his Raiders started their 2019 campaign.

While practice will limited to just helmets and shoulder pads for the next 10 days, Till and the Raiders will be preparing for the upcoming season with a “fearless” mentality. Appropriately, the “r” in the word is represented by the Raider diamond logo.

“Fearless came from when we’re looking at our kids and what they need to do in order to be the best they can be,” Till explained on on-field and off-field preparations. “You don’t coach and play at Richmond without talking about state championships -- and we talked a lot about that last year and we will again this year.

“But for each guy to be the best each player he can be, the only way to do that in life is to be fearless,” he added. “There will always be naysayers -- we want our kids to realize it doesn’t matter what anybody says, we have to go out and get it. They can’t let their fears stop them.”

Till pulls this mentality from his own personal experience, citing how he weighed the pros and cons with his family when he applied for the Richmond head coaching gig. Every con he mustered was simply something he feared may or may not happen.

He’s using that as a guiding principle this season, looking to build upon the already solid foundation he’s rebuilt the past two years.

“Our kids should ask themselves ‘what can I do to help the team’,” Till said of the fearless mentality. “Fear shouldn’t stop them on or off the football field. A lot of times in life, fear can limit the things we do, so we’re trying to teach our players they can’t be fearful.”

The turnout was “pretty good” for the first day, as rising players participated in a variety on non-contact drills and worked on fundamental skills.

Although things ran smoothly Monday, the Raiders were without four returning starters: rising juniors Caleb Hood (quarterback) and Dalton Stroman (wide receiver), and rising seniors Jaheim Covington (running back) and Joerail White (linebacker).

The quartet was competing in the NCHSAA Mid-West track and field regionals, and Till noted how proud he was of how his team adjusted without four cornerstones of the program present.

“One of the big things with football is always having to adjust,” Till explained. “Several guys were out for track and the team had to adapt to that on first day. I was really pleased with how the coaches and backup guys got rolling.

“The number of kids was good, but it’s not just about numbers,” he added. “It’s about quality, and our guys know that and what we expect. Now it’s about getting in practice shape.”

During the next nine school days, the Raiders will practice after school into the early evening to work on getting up to game speed. Till anticipates running 11-on-11 drills later this week once he has all of his players at practice.

Not only does Till want the team to mesh and new players adjust to the ebb and flow of high school football, but the point of spring practices is for the season’s standard to be set.

“We practice in the spring to set the standard,” Till closed. “We want to see guys committed to getting better over these two weeks. It should be clear by the end that they’re committed to making our program better.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:02
Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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