Stewarts Creek first-year football coach David Martin kept things simple.
However, he wanted things perfect.
The Stewarts Creek football era kicked off Monday with program’s first practice with a football. The Red Hawks actually used three footballs, which was a step up from the night before when Martin said no football had yet been delivered to the school.
“I was pleased with the first day,” said Martin, who won three state titles at Goodpasture before resigning in December. “They absorbed the things we tried to do.
“It’s pretty rough right now. It’s not very smooth. At least we have them going in the right direction.”
Monday was the first day high school football teams were permitted to practice with a football and helmets since they held their spring practice. However Stewarts Creek, which will open this fall, was not able to hold spring practice due to TSSAA rules. And helmets hadn’t been delivered yet prior to the first practice.
The coaching staff was able to spend the month of June prior to the TSSAA-mandated dead period conditioning their incoming players. But they could not use a football.
“It’s what you have to do,” said Stewarts Creek sophomore Chris Dye on conditioning last month. “I’d rather be running plays and stuff, but you have to get in shape first.”
Stewarts Creek kicks off its season on Aug. 23 at Ravenwood. The Red Hawks will compete in District 7-AAA with six other Class 6A teams from Rutherford County this fall, playing a varsity schedule in all sports its inaugural season
Dye was one of several quarterbacks running plays on the first day. Both Martin and assistant Jason Scharsch had offensive groups working on different run plays. Another group worked on pass plays while a final group worked on blocking.
Martin was a stickler for fundamentals and footwork. He moved players around in position to the exact spot they should line up. He even corrected Scharsch once when a player wasn’t running a play the way he wanted it.
“To execute this offense well, every little detail is important,” said Martin, whose team will run the wing-T this fall. “Everything is important in how it meshes up and the timing and everything.
“We’ve got a long way to go. But, it was the first day.”
Dye said the adjustment is difficult since all of the players came from different football backgrounds. Stewarts Creek, which is located in southwest Smryna, includes players from Blackman, La Vergne and Smyrna.
“Everybody came from a different school so everybody ran a different offense and defense,” Dye said. “This is different for me too. It’s going to take people time to adjust to it.”
Offensive and defensive lineman Nelson Masayan, a senior, said the coaching staff went at a slow pace to give players time to learn the play.
“It was kind of hard because everything was complicated and it was kind of hard, but they did it slow so we can get the hang of it,” said Masayan, who attended Smyrna last season. “I like the offense we’re running. I really like it.”