The arrival of spring signals a renewal.
Plants start to grow, flowers begin to bloom and footballs take to the air on high school campuses across the country.
For many football programs, the 20 days of spring football offer a small glimpse of things to come in the fall.
For others, it’s a chance to meet the new faces of the program and continue building with the old ones.
“I think most football coaches get excited about spring,” said Jay High coach Kent Smith, who will be entering his third season with the Royals. “I’m a little anxious right now. I’m excited about getting out on Wednesday and getting started.”
Teams can begin non-contact drills Wednesday with full contact drills beginning Saturday.
The Gulf Breeze Jamboree on May 16 kicks off spring football games, which conclude May 31 with a matchup between Tate and Niceville.
“Our main goal of spring is to evaluate as many players as we can at as many positions as we can,” Catholic coach Greg Seibert said. “That’s part of how we came up with some of the people playing in the positions they played in last year.
“Another thing, obviously, is to create some depth. To create some twos and threes that could potentially help us. That will be the biggest issue for us in dealing with the classification that we’re dealing with now.”
The 2013 football season will see some change, with a couple of teams moving up in classification and districts shifting a little. Catholic moves up to Class 5A to join Gulf Breeze and West Florida in District 1-5A.
Next season also will feature first-year coach Ronnie Douglas, who will lead the Tate Aggies as they move up to Class 7A to play in a district that contains Oklahoosa County powers Niceville and Crestview.
“I’m excited, but we got in kinda late, so you always feel like you’re behind the eight ball,” Douglas said.
“We are excited. The kids are excited. The community is very excited. It’s just a real exciting time up here right now. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Douglas estimates anywhere from 120 to 130 kids will show up for spring drills Wednesday. Needless to say, he said the 20 days of spring will be spent evaluating all of that talent.
“For us being brand new and having a bunch of new coaches, everybody is on the learning curve,” Douglas said.
“We’ll all have to learn.
“Mainly, we want to evaluate players, look at them and where we feel they can best help the team.”
Also making his spring debut will be Washington coach Craig LaBorde. LaBorde is entering his second year with the Wildcats, but he arrived in the middle of the summer last year and hit the ground running.
“I’ve been excited since Nov. 10,” LaBorde said. “We’re looking forward to getting after it. We’ve had an offseason now and I think our kids are starting to buy in. We’ve had about 30-40 kids working out three days a week after school since Christmas break. Now, we’re getting our track and baseball kids back.
“Going through a rough first year, but if nothing else it gave me an opportunity to evaluate our kids and coaching staff, as well. We’re making some changes on both sides of the ball. We’re installing a new offense and picked up 4-5 new coaches. It’s an exciting time on campus.”