Lufkin Coach Todd Quick Pleased With First Few Days of Panthers Practice
LUFKIN -- Lufkin coach Todd Quick likes what he's seen through the first three days of Lufkin practice, but knows there's more to be learned.
When ETSN.fm caught up with the second-year coach during Wednesday afternoon's practice, he was already looking forward to Friday -- the first day of full-contact drills in pads.
"We're in shorts, it's tough," Quick said. "We're going over and over and over stuff. We're constantly repeating stuff just to get everything pulsed right. When we get out here Friday and we start hitting, then we'll adjust our practice. You've got phases throughout the season and this is one of them and we're going to start another one Friday."
The Panthers return a solid nucleus from last season's 9-4 Class 5A Region II semifinalist, but will enter 2013 with new starters at both quarterback and running back.
Junior Trey Cumbie takes over at quarterback for Tyler Stubblefield, who signed a baseball scholarship with Texas A&M after putting over 3,500 yards and 39 touchdowns last fall.
"He had a good spring and had a real good 7-on-7," Quick said of Cumbie, who led the Panthers through a perfect run up until the state 7-on-7 tournament in July. "But you don't have a rush and there's no threat of being hit. He's going to have to adjust to the game; we're going to have to get him into that, there's going to be some hits he's going to have to take. He's got to trust in the offensive line and we have a good offensive line that'll buy him a little time to get used to everything."
Another luxury that will be afforded Cumbie is a receiving corps that could be one of the most talented in the state. Senior Jamal Jeffery has committed to Texas A&M, while junior Key'Vantanie "KeKe" Coutee (5-10, 160) pledged to Texas over the offseason. Junior Terry Mark (6-1, 180) also has an offer from Houston.
"It's a quarterback's dream with four of the five returning offensive linemen and then you've got the three of the four receivers that can make plays anywhere on the field," Quick said. "I would think that, that as a quarterback coming in that buys you a little time to catch up. I know he's got to be excited about that."
Quick said there are two candidates to replace last season's 1,000-yard running back Kendrick Mapp -- Steven Sowell and Joshua Tolbert.
"As of right now, both are pretty much getting equal reps," Quick said. "Somebody will eventually take it over and I think that's a game-time thing. A lot of people can turn the volume up on a Friday night but don't look so good on the weekdays, but when we turn the lights on they're a different player."
One thing coaches often worry about during the first week of practice is what kind of shape their players are in, but Quick said those concerns were put to rest the first day.
"I'm excited about the condition they came in," he said. "We haven't had to wait on anyone. We've had some movement, a little changes; some were better than others. But it ended in the spring and they did their work in the summer and we're very pleased with that. So the ones we felt like coming out of spring for the most part, they're in that position. I'm very happy with how we took the field."
Now, Quick says, the focus becomes making sure everyone is healthy entering the season.
"We can't afford for anybody to get hurt," he said. "We're strong with where we're at right now. We've got some adequate backups, but the less time you have to play the backups, the better off you'll be."
Lufkin scrimmages Beaumont West Brook at home Aug. 23 before opening the season by hosting John Tyler on Aug. 30.