Loaded Longview Squad Back At Practice + Expecting Big Things in 2013
LONGVIEW -- Longview's John King has coached some of the very best players to come through East Texas over the last decade. And he's got another talented group taking the field in 2013.
ETSN.fm caught up with the Lobos during their second full day of practice Tuesday evening, and the level of talent and managing expectations were a hot topic of conversation.
"We've had some great players in the past and we have some this year," King said. "Our key is going to be getting the right chemistry on the field, getting everybody at the same time pulling in the right direction. A lot of times that's the biggest challenge."
Two of Longview's brightest stars in the 2014 class are receiver Dorian Leonard (6-4, 200), who has committed to Texas, and defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson (6-1, 287), who pledged to TCU during the offseason.
"It's a wonderful feeling being able to coach great athletes that you know are going to give you a chance to win games and be able to do some special things with them," King said. "I think Dorian Leonard is practicing as good as he ever has. Here's a kid that's committed to Texas and he's first in line and leading the way through the drills. Zaycoven Henderson's being a vocal leader for us and doing a lot of great things. All those guys that are back after starting last year are stepping up and doing what we need them to do."
King applauded the efforts of both Leonard and Henderson during the first two days of practice.
"Them seeing me work hard and them seeing me bust my butt every day, that should make them want to go hard and work harder every day," Henderson said. "I just give thanks to God that I have teammates like I do, that I can push them every day and they can push me every day -- even though they're not recruited. They push me every day to do the right thing on the field."
For Leonard, he's just happy that football season has officially begun.
"It's been great out here, we're getting a lot of reps now," he said. "It's kinda hot, you've got to get back used to the heat. I've been waiting for this the whole summer working out, getting ready for this thing right here."
Several other impact players return from last season's team that finished 9-4 and reached the Class 5A Division II Region II semifinals, including a pair of 2015 prospects in quarterback Dezmond Chumley (6-1, 180) and running back JaMycal Hasty (5-10, 180).
And not surprisingly, Longview's veteran first-team units looked sharp during practice on Tuesday.
"We've made a few mental errors," King said. "Of course we're on our second day of practice. We're trying to get all those things corrected; it's just going to be a day-to-day process. I thought our retention level was good with what we did in the spring, and our mistakes were few. But we'll see how it goes throughout the course of the week. The more fatigued they get and the more sore they get, sometimes they have a tendency to give in a little bit."
All in all, King has been pleased with what he's seen thus far at practice. And not just what he's noticed from Leonard and Henderson.
"I've been thankful they've done the things we've asked them to do all summer long," he said. "Those guys have prepared themselves to be in position to have a great year. They're not the only ones -- Stephan Maxey, Travin Howard, Jordan Whitaker … I can just keep naming a bunch of kids. For the most part our varsity football team, particularly our senior football players, have done a great job of getting ready for this camp."
Longview scrimmages John Tyler at Rose Stadium in Tyler on Aug. 23 before opening the season Aug. 30 against Coppell in the Tom Landry Classic at Allen's Eagle Stadium.