Guiding a youth movement was a prevalent theme for Dripping Springs head football coach Galen Zimmerman and his staff as the program completed spring practices May 22.
With only 10 to 15 players returning from last season’s playoff run, Zimmerman and his staff understood how much work was needed to ensure the next crop of Tigers know what to expect when the Friday Night Lights shine.
Amid the bumble here and the stumble there, Zimmerman was overall pleased with the work put in by his players as they began the steady march toward August and preseason drills.
“There is no magic formula,” Zimmerman said. “We just went to work every day and tried to get better.”
Overall, Zimmerman said his staff got to see areas they could improve upon when August drills hit. Identifying those areas is critical, especially with a younger group of players, Zimmerman said.
New rules allowing coaches more time to work with athletes over the summer will also be a benefit for the program, Zimmerman said. In October 2018, the UIL, the governing body of high school athletics in Texas, approved amendments expanding the time period for summer strength and conditioning workouts from six weeks to the entire summer break, according to multiple reports.
Those changes, which went into effect May 1, will allow coaches to have two hours of specific skill instruction per week with athletes, with a one hour limit per day, according to a Houston Chronicle report.
“You can’t win anything right now, but I’ve seen a lot of progress over the past few weeks,” Zimmerman said.
On the offensive side, Dripping Springs will need to replace several key positions, including quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
So far, Julian Wright and Preston Alford have both received time under center during spring drills. Zimmerman said junior Zach Tjelmeland and Cameron O’Banan could also be in the mix at quarterback. Both players missed most of spring practices, however, as they were part of the Tiger baseball team’s playoff run.
Zimmerman said the Tigers have some “good ones” coming back, but will have a lot of new faces on the field this season.
The ability to “throw a lot at them” and seeing how they handle the pressure is key during the spring, Zimmerman said. The Tigers have also leaned heavily on players that are expected to return.
“We’ve reinforced telling the younger ones that it’s a faster game and things move quickly,” Zimmerman said. “It has to become muscle memory. You don’t have to time to think. It has to be a trained action.”