KINGMAN - Most high school football teams have had spring football, summer workouts that include weight training, and camps to get ready for the upcoming season. That wasn't the case at Kingman Academy the previous two years, but with the addition of Dan Stroup as coach, it is now.
"I'm really excited for this opportunity to work in the off-season," said KAHS senior linebacker/lineman Ethan Tibbetts. "It's nice to do a little preparing beforehand and to bond with the team before the season starts. It's going to give us an edge that our opponents had."
Stroup is bringing in a spread offense, and that was his top priority for the three weeks of spring football that ended last week at Southside Park.
"That's the most complicated," Stroup said. "We had to get the verbiage down and teach the line our multiple sets. The jargon that we talk was probably the biggest battle."
The incorporation of a new offense has all kinds of hurdles that must be jumped, and now that the Tigers have a head start toward understanding it, players such as Tibbetts are looking forward to the process.
"We get to learn the playbook," he said. "It's extensive, and there is no way we could learn it in three weeks."
The Tigers still have a lot of work to do with all the new formations, snap counts, signals, and protection coverages. From what Stroup has seen so far, the squad is up to the task.
"We're on the right path," the coach said. "These kids are intelligent. This might be the fastest team I've had in picking things up. We're not just running a bunch of plays; we're learning how they will be applied. Their football IQ is growing."
Stroup reported a total of 37 players attended spring football with about an average of 32 per day. One thing he was looking for and found was the buy-in from the players.
"I think we're on pace of where we should be," Stroup said. "They're learning how we go to work every day, and that defines who we are. Our central theme is to compete and teach the kids how to do that and come to work ready and set the tone for the fall."
For Stroup, a big reason that spring football went so well has been the way he and his coaching staff (Marty Edwards, Dustin Brisco, Jason Butler and John Morgando) have joined forces to bring in the new culture to the Academy.
"We have a great set of competitors within the coaching staff," Stroup said. "As much as the players did great, the staff - who didn't know me until recently - did great and already know their roles. They feel like they have a huge part in it and they know they have input."
The Tigers head into the summer with a weight-training program installed, camps and workouts to take them into August. All of that combined with the push from spring football has the Tigers already feeling upbeat about the 2014 season.
"People who come out to our games are going to see something they haven't before," Tibbetts said. "I think they're going to love it."