Rebels looking for team chemistryPublished 10:11am Monday, August 12, 2013
By Cory Diaz
Jackie O’Neal’s coaching and developing approach for his football teams each year, coming out of Spring into the—sometimes stagnant—days of Summer, is hardly the same.
Several mitigating factors direct the Reeltown Rebels’ emphasis before each offseason. In that case, this year’s Summer workouts were much of the same.
“It’s different every year based on the team you end Spring with,” O’Neal, Rebels coach, said. “Sometimes you have more of a veteran ballclub. With a team like that, they can get conceded by the way they play and you have to find ways to push them to the maximum.
“With a younger team, you can’t throw as much as you can with a veteran ballclub because they’ll need to focus on the fundamentals more.”
The 2013 edition of the Reeltown Rebels will be younger than last season’s group that was ousted in the semifinals of the Class 2A playoffs. This squad’s Spring production was comparable to previous teams, but the mental part of the game hasn’t come around yet, according to O’Neal.
“They’re a young bunch. They need to care about each other more. They need to be willing to sacrifice for the guy next to them, and to the team ultimately. This year we have veterans sprinkled in there that’s been through the wars and we’ll be looking for more leadership from that bunch.”
O’Neal said the seniors have been the most impressive group for Reeltown so far this offseason.
“I think this year’s senior class has been a little bit exceptional,” he said. “They haven’t been in that role, for the last three years they’ve been followers. I feel like they have embraced being leaders. The seniors have impressed me because they were unknowns. They were young men, flying below-the-radar. But they are hard workers and they get the job done for us.”
Monday marked the beginning of Fall practice and as O’Neal said, it’s a long trek between then and the first game of the season. Coming off the heels of Summer workouts, the coach knows the importance of fundamentals, which will be the team’s focus the first week of preseason camp, but to keep it fresh for his players.
“Sometimes, tempers can get short and the players can get tired. We want to make it interesting. We want to take them through a progression where they are getting better each week to get ready for the first ballgame.”
Diaz is sports editor for the Tallassee Tribune.