EVERYTHING EVERGREENS (FOX SPORTS WAUSAU-WSAU) Maybe it was because it was a cool, breezy day. The first football practice was crisp and snappy. You'd feel sorry if you watched a team practice early in the season on a hot, humid day.... big kids lugging big bodies around in the heat -- as if every movement requires extra effort. You can literally see people slowing down as the session nears its end. Getting to the water trough becomes the goal.
Tuesday morning was nothing like that. The pace of the first practice of the year was quick. The effort was good.
I spoke with Coach Luke Coenen at the end of the morning session. "I'm really happy," he said. "That was a very good practice. We look much, much better than I expected."
I have a few observations of my own: Darren Sanchez looks a little bigger and more athletic than I remember a year ago. He took most of the snaps while I was at practice, and it seems almost certain that he'll be the starting quarterback. He also looks like he's become more confident; he looks like a team leader.
I don't have a sense of who else will share quarterbacking duties. The Evergreens usually rotate in a second quarterback, and it's unclear who that person might be.
The Evergreens running backs look quick. Several ball-carriers accelerated quickly from the backfield to the line-of-scrimmage.
The Evergreens have a lot of size on both sides of the ball. Even without pads, it's apparent to me that Everest has linemen who will be physically intimidating and will be handfuls for the opponents they line up against.
Because of my vacation schedule, I may see only one or two more practices before the regular season beings. (I will also be away for the three-team scrimmage later this month.) Over the next three weeks the team will take shape and today's first impressions will be reviewed and revised. The Evergreens start from from a good place. This team will have every opportunity to be better than a year ago.