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Camp Cougar: Players are learning

| Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, 12:16 a.m.
Valley Independent
Charleroi football coach Ed Jenkins, center, makes a point to his team after its first practice in pads at Charleroi Stadium Monday. Jeff Oliver | Valley Independent

So far, so good for new Charleroi football coach Ed Jenkins and his Cougars after the first day of summer camp.

Jenkins and his staff are getting the players acclimated to a new system and the coach admits that both the players and coaches have had a good head start on getting on the same page.

“The system they are grasping. We worked really hard all summer (before camp) and we got to know each other and they got a feel for what we want to do and we got a feel for what they are capable of doing,” Jenkins said. “It's still the first day. It looks like the first day. We have guys with a lot of energy, guys who are working hard. But it's still the first day. You can see where we are going to be good in spots. But you can also see where we are not going to be good in spots.”

Jenkins said his staff is doing things differently than what the Cougars are used to, but he said he isn't seeing any negative responses.

“The kids are open-minded,” he said. “They are buying into it. They ask the right questions. Last night, a lot of them stayed up late studying film before we got out on the field. I'm convinced they are committed to winning and that means buying into what we, as coaches, are selling.”

One thing Jenkins has his team doing to help build cohesiveness and unity is keeping the team on campus the first week of camp.

On Sunday, the players gathered at the stadium and a team picnic that included the players' families was held. After that, team meetings were held and the players bunked up in the gymnasium, where they are spending the nights this week.

“I think the kids are enjoying being together. All of us getting to know each other on a more intimate basis,” Jenkins said. “(Monday morning) they were up before the horn blew. Guys were in the locker room geting their helmets ready. They are anxious to be out here.”

On the field, the coach has already seen enough of his team to see where the strengths and weaknesses are at this time.

“I think for us, right now, our strength is at the skill positions on offense and defense,” he said. “We have guys in the skill positions on both sides of the ball who are veterans. Our receiving corps is senior heavy and very capable. From a speed and athleticism perspective, we will match up with the rest of the conference.”

The weakness?

“We have to be more physical up front,” he said. “We have to get better and we will. We have a leader up front, our center Chase McKevitt. He's a returning starter and he's our anchor. We just have to get better around him.

“Right now, when you talk about us and who we are at this point, we are athletic on the edge and we need to be more physical in the middle.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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