Monday, August 6, 2012

Hobbs football begins practice, Gleghorn looking to change culture

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Donavon Fierro runs during the Eagles'
first practice of the 2012 season Monday.
  Beneath the familiar bright, hot sun of Southeast New Mexico, the Hobbs football program under first-year Eagles coach Charles Gleghorn opened practice for the 2012 season Monday morning at Watson Stadium.
  Though it's Gleghorn's first season at the helm of the Eagles, he's been at Hobbs since January and has been installing his no-huddle spread offense over the last eight months. In shorts, T-shirts and their new white helmets (replacing the old black helmets), the Eagles went through their offense – mainly working on rushing and play-action passing plays during the first practice of two-a-days Monday.
  Hobbs' hard work since January paid off today as the Eagles spent little time getting players to the right spot and instead worked on efficiency in the offense – in other words playing faster. Right now Hobbs is running eight plays per 10 minutes in Gleghorn's spread (an offense he used to set several state passing records while winning three state titles at Hatch Valley), but Gleghorn wants Hobbs to eventually be running 14 plays in seven minutes.
  The Eagles worked on hard counts as well, something an up-tempo offense like this can use to get a look at the defense's play call and possibly draw the team offsides. 
Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Lane Moore makes a catch Monday.
  "Some games in the past, we’ve done that as much as 38 times in one game," Gleghorn told me after practice about the hard count. "It just depends on the defense. Usually at the beginning of the game they know we are going to do that so they’ll have a plan and have two coverages called and if we do it, they shift to the second coverage. That’s great but by the time they get to the second quarter they get tired and quit doing it and it becomes more effective. It just makes our opponent have to have more plans and it doesn’t really do anything for us other than give our kids a break."
  But more importantly than the execution of the offense and the system as a whole, Gleghorn is trying to instill a winning attitude into a Hobbs program that has lost 14 of its last 17 games, has one playoff victory since 1982 and hasn’t won an outright district title since 1974 and a state title since 1972. As I wrote in my story for Tuesday's paper, he had a meeting with the seniors about leadership and also talked with them about having a positive attitude.
  “I also told (the seniors) we are going to be successful and that’s just the way it’s going to go,” Gleghorn said. “Just get used to it, I said. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of success and I don’t plan on stopping just because Hobbs hasn’t had very much success. We are going to be successful and that’s just going to be part of the deal.”
  I also learned Hobbs has finally secured a scrimmage and the Eagles will play Belen 5 p.m. Aug. 23 in Mescalero (a halfway point so neither team has to make the entire trip).
  I also went out to Eunice's midnight practice late Sunday night/early Monday morning and the Cardinals had a ton of players out for a Class 2A school. While Eunice lost arguably the top two players in Class 2A last season in quarterback/cornerback Tyler Almager (who will be playing baseball at New Mexico Junior College) and wide receiver/safety Junior Caraza (who will be playing football at Fort Lewis in Colorado), the Cardinals return a lot from a team that lost just one game a year ago.
  Add to it an energetic young coach like first-year Eunice head coach Caleb Aldridge and the Cardinals could again be one of the top teams in their classification.