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Marble Falls football looking for more than shooting stars

CAPTION: The Marble Falls linemen work on blocking assignments, the proper footwork and hand placement during a drill on the first day of fall training camp. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The sounds of whistles and yells echoed throughout Mustang Stadium as the Marble Falls High School football team was in the midst of spending two hours on the artificial turf July 31 on the first day of fall training camp.

Coaches were with various position groups as the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity spread throughout the 120-yard field. Defensive coordinator Ryan Craven spent time with the secondary, while assistant coach Austin Silva was with the defensive front seven. Assistant coach Humberto Garza was with the linemen, and taking it all in was head coach BrIan Herman.

“I told them this morning I don’t want shooting stars, I don’t want a guy who’ll flash in pants and look like gang busters,” he said as he turned to observe different position groups and ages. “I want people who are willing to be consistent in everything with great attitudes and effort. Those shooting stars don’t last.”

The work the Mustangs put in during the summer was paying off. Even after two hours, they didn’t look winded or tired. Instead, their attention span was razor sharp as coaches corrected and taught everything from the proper way to turn and run, where to step to open or close running lanes, and the subtle signals to indicate a minor change during a play.

“There’s lots of learning on day one, there’s so much going on,” Herman said. “Where do I go next to what position to do I play? I don’t get bent out of shape on day one. There’s always going to be hiccups. There’s a learning process and a lot of teaching going on. You’re not in this group, you’re in that group.”

The Mustangs didn’t appear bothered by the correction. Their intensity didn’t dip, not even when a couple began to dance as they waited for instructions from their coaches in between reps.

Herman noted the intensity level doesn’t start to pick up during summer strength and conditioning sessions or even during the offseason. It starts with a belief that springs at the end of a season where unfulfilled goals weren’t met. And it stays long after unforms and equipment are returned and stored until it’s time for a new season to begin.

“Fight, camaraderie, commitment,” Herman said. “Those are the ones who seem to really care, that it’s important. They’re showing it with a great attitude and showing it every day.”

Though Herman declined to release the number of players on the first day, he pointed out other positives. Some athletes showed the depth of their care when they arrived at 5 a.m. July 31, one hour before the official start of practice, to get measured for equipment. Coaches were at the field house last week to allow players to get fitted for equipment days before the start of fall training camp.

“I was very pleased with our punctuality,” Herman said. “I was concerned about being able to start on time. I had some kids who were here before coaches. They showed they care enough to be early.”

The athletic facilities weren’t the only parts of the high school campus buzzing with activity. Newly-hired Marble Falls Independent School teachers also were on campus to go through orientation and other activities in preparation for the start of the 2023-24 school year. The first day of school is Wednesday, Aug. 16. Some of those new teachers included coaches.

Still, Herman said there were enough on the field to keep the groups of players at small enough numbers to continue to instruct and teach. He noted the Marble Falls Middle School staff has four offensive and four defensive coaches, which means players in the seventh and eighth grades will learn the same terms as the high school players. That should make the transition easier. They also were on the field training camp.

The Mustangs aren’t expected to do full contact work until early next week though they’ll have morning practices each day, including Saturday, Aug. 5. The University Interscholastic League is very specific on what kind of work players are allowed to do on each day, Herman said.

“We’ll need to see live action before (Leander) Glenn,” he said, pointing out the Mustangs’ first scrimmage opponent Friday, Aug. 11. “We’re using this week to teach fundamentals. The ones who are here are the committed ones. They’ll give us a chance to be successful. Football is a tough sport. It’s not for some, especially on the high school level. On the collegiate and pro levels, those guys have figured out if they like it. We’re going to fight with the ones who showed up, who are in the constellations and not the shooting stars.”

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