ROCKINGHAM — Patience.
If there is a word that makes the majority of coaches cringe, that is the one.
In today’s instant world, everyone wants things to happen right here and now. First-year Richmond Senior football coach Mike Castellano is no different. But he knows he is having to be patient with his new crop of players as they get accustomed to his style.
Castellano and the Raiders wrapped up their first week of summer practice Thursday morning.
“We’re not anywhere near where we want to be. It’s a process and we’re four days into it,” Castellano said. “I think our biggest problem today, as a matter of fact, was we lost focus. We got tired and we lost focus. They’re not used to going four days in a row this time of year. I think a lot of that was fatigue. Hopefully, we’re now getting to the point where we’re a little more conditioned and we’ll build a little more mental toughness and be ready to go next week.”
Castellano knows it will take some time for the players to pick up the new schemes on offense, defense and special teams he is trying to install. At the end of practice, Castellano hoped the players would still retain the information the coaching staff was teaching them this week.
“It’s all about repetitions,” Castellano said. “It’s all about as many reps as you can get, whether that means in the meeting room or whether it be on the field and doing those type of things. Right now we have a couple of guys that are really ahead of some other ones.
“In the summer we have a couple of guys in drivers’ ed, one or two might be sick, one or two are on vacation, so it doesn’t build consistency with the communication. Sometimes they are talking to a different guy the next day next to them. His knowledge and level of learning may not have caught up with the other guy. It’s all about reps.”
One of the biggest things the coaching staff talked about earlier in the week was tempo in practice. Assistant coach Steve Burdeau feels the team has come a long way from Monday and he hopes the progress will continue.
“Overall I’m happy with the tempo we are picking up. The first thing we had to learn is how to practice fast,” Burdeau said. “The things we’re installing each day we’re progressing to the next day, that’s a good thing to see. We haven’t had to do a lot of re-teaching the next day. We’re able to keep moving forward with our install plan. So that’s been a good thing to see.
“The tradition here has been great and a lot of things to build on…just changing the speed we line up and some different formation stuff, the kids have bought into it great. I think they’re enjoying it. We’re translating some of the things they have done in the past to what they’re doing now to make it a quicker learn for them. Overall, it’s been a great process so far.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Burdeau said everything revolves around the quarterbacks. The group is learning a new system and has to be one step ahead of their teammates.
“The quarterbacks have done great, each day after practice we go and draw some stuff on the white board,” Burdeau said. “They have to be a day ahead of the receivers and the OL. They’re picking it up quick. It’s been a big jump every day for them. They’re leading the way for us. They’re going to set how we’re going to go on offense.”
Richmond will get its first taste of lining up against outside competition next Thursday when East Montgomery and Cape Fear come to town for 7-on-7 competition. Castellano wasn’t sure how he was going to plan the day, but said it would be nice to see new faces on the other side of the ball.
“It’s exciting, we need to do that at some point, but we have a lot of things to work out before we get there,” Castellano said. “Anytime we can play against somebody else, it gives us a chance to compete. Our motto is we always want to compete…compete at anything we do. That will be exciting, we’re looking forward to it. But obviously we have a lot of work between now and Thursday.”
Burdeau agreed next week’s 7-on-7 would be beneficial.
“It’s definitely an exciting thing, that’s the next step. We get to compete against somebody else,” Burdeau said. “We’re all working on the same page those days. It will be an exciting time for us Thursday.”
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