Preseason always time for talk

Published 8:57 am Sunday, August 13, 2006

By Staff
There are not any games to talk about this time of year, but there is always plenty of preseason talk.
Here are some of the thoughts I have heard so far from T.R. Miller Tigers coach Jamie Riggs and W.S. Neal Blue Eagles skipper Blaine Hathcock during the early days of practice.
Riggs: &#8220I could design practice and make sure we go into the season opener completely healthy, but that doesn't get us ready for the season.”
Hathcock: &#8220We were probably three special teams plays away from being 7-3 last season instead of 4-6. We were close, but close means we didn't get the job done.”
Riggs: &#8220We've got a lot tougher region schedule this year now that we're back in 4A. I think that could make us better in the long run.”
Hathcock: &#8220Our schedule is much more favorable this year. Last year we played three teams (Eufaula, Pike County and Southern Choctaw) that went undefeated in the regular season. I doubt if there was another team in the state which did that. We played eight teams that were .500 or better. This year we only play four teams that finished .500 or better last year and none in our non-region games.”
Riggs: &#8220I'd rather lengthen our season in November and December with the playoffs than in August with a preseason game.”
Hathcock: &#8220When I arrived a year ago last spring, we knew we had to address our punter, kicker and snapper situation. However, we weren't able to work on those areas until May. This past offseason we were able to address our needs on special teams in November. We've had a lot more time to prepare.”
Riggs: &#8220Preseason rankings don't mean anything. The only thing that matters is where you are at the end of the season.”
Hathcock: &#8220It doesn't matter what class we're in. The region we're in for this part of the state is always going to be among the best in the state, if not the best.”
Riggs: &#8220I don't care which region we're paired up with in the playoffs. Just tell me who we're playing, when it is and where I need to be. Of course, none of that matters if we don't make the top four in our region.”
Hathcock: &#8220We have high expectations going into the season. Then again, every team in the state has high expectations headed into the start of practice.”