The scrimmages with Mason and San Angelo Lake View can make all the differences in the world for the 2021 Jackets. Llano has 6 offensive and 4 defensive returning starters from last season. Each returner is a very strong football player in the realm of experience. Some players are ready from Week 0. Sometimes it will take a few weeks. One of the best examples are the two Jacket junior linebackers, Ricky De La Torre and Hayden Manahan. Last season I only knew their numbers on the uniforms. By District play their confidence had swelled. By the time of the first game in the play-offs, these two linebackers were to be feared. Have rarely seen such growth and confidence from two players. That experience must move now into leadership roles for younger players. Ricky and Hayden had that coming from three year starter Mason Baker at middle linebacker last season.
So often practices can seem like time lost to players. But again, practice made Llano grow so much last season. You could see the confidence grow. Being successful in a hard practice moves then over to what and how you respond in games. There are reasons for everything. It helps when you have intelligent football players, that can see the big picture. Football intelligence and IQ intelligence are not always the same.
The scrimmage with Lake View is a good strong test. Our lineman will be against players as big and as strong as them. Our secondary will see real speed Thursday evening.. This is the kind of competition Llano needs. When you think that the Jackets are breaking in 10 to 14 new starters, every down of experience is badly needed. Lake View made the play-offs last season in 4A. The scrimmage will be a good test for all.
If you can believe next Friday night Llano plays the first game of the season. Not to look to far ahead, but the scrimmages are for the purpose getting ready for the first game. This week I have so much to say, but I would be a week early. This week is for the purpose of getting better. Work hard in practice, have a good scrimmage, and then lets talk about Gatesville. See you in San Angelo.