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Off to a hot start: Jackets make most of camp's first day

July 30, 2012

Starkville High School football coach Jamie Mitchell, middle, encourages his players during the first day of preseason practice. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)

Monday saw the heat index soar well above the 100-degree mark, but that didn’t stop the Starkville Yellowjackets from opening their training camp for the 2012 football season.

SHS head Coach Jamie Mitchell seemed pleased with first day of work for the Class 5A North Half champions, but quickly admitted the heat did have an impact on his team.

“We struggled with the heat (Monday)," Mitchell said after the second of two practices. "I think that’s going to be the norm until we get adjusted to it. I don’t care how hard you work – it is just different when you get here to practice. It will just take some time to get adjusted.”

Aside from the heat, Mitchell liked the fact he had players making the most of the first day of camp.

“I’m pretty pleased," Mitchell said. "We’ve got some guys running around and trying to do some good things you know. It just hard to tell right now in shorts and t-shirts.”

As one might expect, there were areas that stood out to be a bit rusty, particularly at the center position.

“We’ve got to settle on some things up front in the offensive line," Mitchell said. "That’s a big problem for us right now. We’ve got to identify who can play and who can’t.”

Not to worry Jacket fans, Mitchell is confident he has the guys to solidify the position.

“There are two or three guys right there that we are looking at,” Mitchell said. “One of them is a move in guy and one is just going to be a sophomore so we are going to be young and inexperienced there either way.”

With a veteran quarterback and experienced defensive linemen, the strength of this year’s squad in the eyes of the coaching staff is their experience.

“I feel like in a lot of places we’ve got a lot of experience with guys that know what to do,” said Mitchell. “That’s a big thing right now is just having much experience.”

For those on hand to watch SHS work, the one thing that is readily apparent, Gabe Myles is the center of this year’s team.

“There is no question who is in charge," Mitchell said. "In the huddle (Gabe) is in charge. He’s the one that’s going to lead this football team and he demands that respect from his team. He does it in a silent way but he still demands it.”

The Jackets have a second day of two-a-day practices today before moving to afternoon sessions. If Starkville fans would like to have a look for themselves what the team will look like this season, there will be a scrimmage on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

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