Memo to the 4-1 varsity Fighting Scots: Though there isn’t a game scheduled for September 21st, the subsequent days won’t be a vacation.
“Practice is going to resemble the Naval Academy this week,” said Scotland head coach Richard Bailey with a laugh. “I’ll find something to get upset about, and even if it means I make them run for doing everything too well, then I’ll do it. My guys can’t win this week no matter what they do.”
It’s two weeks removed from the second half of their schedule, and the Fighting Scots couldn’t be soaring any higher. Their most recent victory, a 56-6 throttling of the Anson Bearcats, showcased all the traits that have spelled success for Scotland thus far this season.
Their defensive unit fueled by senior leadership forced Anson into multiple turnovers and held the Bearcats to under 130 combined yards. The backfield tandem of Josh McPhatter and Jalen McLean accounted for five rushing touchdowns before both were pulled in the third quarter after Scotland amassed a 42-0 lead.
But despite a game where seemingly everything went right, the Fighting Scots spent a portion of their Monday afternoon watching footage from that night, which was also their last non-conference matchup of the 2012 regular season.
“A big win like that is never as good or as bad as you think it is when you watch it again,” Bailey said. “There is plenty to praise and critique, so we’ll spend the majority of our practice time working on the little things that can make a big difference on Friday nights. It’s the things that a lot of people don’t talk about that can equal a win or loss.”
Daily football practices at Scotland High School usually last in upwards of two hours, but this week they will be truncated slightly to around 90 minutes. But in these practices, drills as simple as allowing precious seconds to tick off the game clock after punting a ball or when to take a safety will take center precedence.
And players will be expected to run as well.
“You’d be surprised how quickly a player can lose game-conditioning even with a one-week layoff,” Bailey said. “We’re going to do our best to keep these guys in the best shape possible, even though no amount of running can simulate what you put your body through on a Friday night.”
But even with the Southeastern Conference leg of the Scots’ schedule lingering on the minds of players and coaches alike, Bailey can’t help but be impressed with the progression his team has shown during his short tenure as head coach.
According to Bailey, it’s the combination of ideas that both the coaching staff in place and himself have brought to the table that has suitably prepared the team for every week thus far.
More importantly, it is the willingness of the players to invest in the coaching staff’s system and advice that has Scotland poised for another memorable run.
“What’s impressed me most about this team is their intangibles, the stuff you can’t teach,” Bailey said. “I think last year’s team provided the model for this team to follow, and I think that they believe they can win any game. But what I like is that they believe that the coaches including myself have the plan to get them there. It’s great to have that trust.”
For full mid season statistics, check back later this week in the Laurinburg Exchange.