Credit: David Flores / Kens5.com
Starting his third season at his alma mater, Sam Houston football coach Gary Green has the Hurricanes pointed in the right direction.
Wednesday, Aug 4 at 1:35 AM
Even though it’s the middle of the summer, Sam Houston High School football coach Gary Green felt a lot like a kid on Christmas morning when he awoke Monday.
Green earned All-America honors at Baylor and was an All-Pro cornerback in the NFL, but to hear him tell it, he’s never experienced anything quite like the anticipation and excitement synonymous with the first day of high school workouts.
That he coaches at his alma mater, Green said, makes the opening day of practice even more meaningful to him.
“It doesn’t get old to me,” said Green, who succeeded Russell Tatum as Sam Houston head coach in 2008 and is 11-10 in two seasons. “I cannot wait to get started. Even though it’s a long road from the start of two-a-days to our first game, there’s a lot of anticipation.
“Our players are excited because they’ve worked hard through the summer to get ready. Hopefully, all that work will come to fruition.”
Per University Interscholastic League rules, Monday was the first day of preseason workouts for Class 5A and 4A schools that did not have spring training, and schools competing in 3A, 2A, 1A and six-man.
Class 5A and 4A schools that had spring training get started Aug. 9.
Players at schools that began practicing Monday are allowed to wear helmets, but can’t don pads or engage in contact drills until Friday.
The high school football season kicks off Thursday, Aug. 26.
Sam Houston, which competes in District 28-3A, will start out practicing from 9-11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day except Sunday.
“Even though our kids have worked this summer, once it gets this hot, it’s still something you have to get acclimated to,” Green said. “They’re in very good shape as far as lifting weights. They’re stronger than they’ve ever been, but they were hurting today when they had to run in this heat.
“We’ll bring them along slowly. We’ll break them down and then build them back up.”
Sam Houston, which finished 8-3 last year, is expected to challenge traditional power Cuero for the 28-3A championship. The
Gobblers lost in the 3A Division I state semifinals last season, finishing 13-1.
“Our kids most definitely are excited about playing in the same district with Cuero,” Green said. “I can’t think of a better opponent you want to play if you want to reach the pinnacle in our region. I think La Vernia will be pretty tough, too.”
Cuero beat the Hurricanes 46-12 in the first round of the playoffs last year.
Sam Houston returns five offensive and six defensive starters, including tackle Quincy Russell, who has committed to Texas.
“Considering the nucleus of our team, I feel that we’ll be a lot better than we were last year,” Green said. “We’re not talking about anything short of state. We know those are lofty goals, but if we stay focused and can be consistent, there’s no reason why we can’t get there.”
Green, 54, graduated from Sam Houston in 1973. He spent most of the summer at the East Side school, opening the weight room almost every weekday and counseling players about everything from the importance of education to developing good work habits on and off the field.
The Hurricanes scrimmage Laredo LBJ on Aug. 14 (10 a.m.) and Burbank on Aug. 19 (7 p.m.), both at the San Antonio Independent School District Sports Complex. Sam Houston opens its season against Brackenridge at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at Alamo Stadium.