VHS prepares for second season under Rogers

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vicksburg High football player James Allen hits a blocking sled during Monday’s practice. It was the Gators’ first official practice of the 2015 season.

Vicksburg High football player James Allen hits a blocking sled during Monday’s practice. It was the Gators’ first official practice of the 2015 season.

The first week of August and high temperatures mean football season is around the corner. Warren County schools began their first run of practices for the new season Monday.

Head coach Marcus Rogers and the Vicksburg Gators baked under the sun as they ran a high-tempo practice in just helmets, T-shirts, shorts and cleats.

Rogers wants a fast-paced practice because it’s the type of style he wants his offense and defense to play.

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“We want a defense that’s swarming to the ball flying 100 mph as well as offensively executing at 100 mph,” Rogers said. “I think so far, so good.”

The Gators are now allowed to do more organized team activities. They can bring footballs to the field, run 11-on-11 drills and execute things they’ve discussed in the summer. This develops and prepares the players’ mental mindset for the game.

Although this is the first official practice of the season, this won’t be the first time players on the team work together. The Gators have a core of about 10 seniors who will be four-year starters when the season starts.

Leadership and focus won’t be a problem for the Gators this season. Rogers said the four-year starters have a focus and goals they want to accomplish.

He’s been impressed by the consistency and commitment of the 102 players on his roster. He said they’re putting in the work and it’s going to pay off.

In addition to the praise he gave his team for consistency and commitment, he wants them to work on being less selfish.

“We have to eliminate that and just be a team. We’ve done team-building activities to build on that and work on that,” Rogers said. “I think if we have a weakness this year, that’s a weakness and it’s always in a 14- to 18-year old kid. I have to eliminate ‘me first’ and put the team first and we’ll have a good season.”

The strongest asset the Gators posses are skilled and talented players.

However, players battled hard on the receiving side of the team to keep or take the position.

“We have some guys off the basketball court who came out here and competed. Some guys who had spots last year lost them. It’s an open competition,” Rogers said.

Rogers welcomed the change in his receiving corps because he wants to build depth at the spot and develop a program. He’s headed into his second year as the Gators’ head coach.

Since Rogers has spent a year with the players, they now know what he expects from his team.

“A year in, I know the kid now, I know them personally,” Rogers said. “It’s nothing nobody can tell me about them. I know exactly what they can and cannot do.”

Rogers expects his team to be competitive and go hard on the field.

The Gators began preparing for this season after the last one ended with a loss to Neshoba Central on Nov. 7.

“That Monday we were back to work,” Rogers said. “We didn’t have time to take off. We got to class and we went to work and I think it’s going to pay off for us.”