Walker Valley's Andrew Hannah splits the uprights for the extra point after a Mustang touchdown against East Hamilton during a scrimmage Friday, at Charleston Field. (Banner Photo, Richard Roberts)
He may have been wearing sunglasses, but the intense glare coming from the eyes behind the dark shades was evident as Walker Valley High School coach Glen Ryan watched his Mustangs sleepwalk through their first two scrimmage sessions against East Hamilton and Knoxville West Friday evening at Charleston Field.
“Very complacent. Very lethargic. We are acting like we don't want to be here; we are just going through the motions,” said an obviously disappointed Ryan. “I challenged them. I told them we had better pick it up during this last scrimmage.”
The Mustangs were able to move the ball against East Hamilton on occasion and somewhat against defending state champion Knox West, but the Hurricanes and Rebels found the end zone more often than not against the Walker Valley defense.
“I've seen a few things I like, but I'm not liking our attitude of just going through the motions. We've got to get better,” Ryan emphasized.
The Mustangs, after a short but spirited lecture from Ryan, squared off against the Irish of Knox Catholic and gave up a quick touchdown before the offense stepped up to even the score.
“So far, our defense kind of got caved in, but this is a pretty good football team. But the offense came out and responded,” he said as the Mustangs lined up for the PAT. “We will see what happens. We need to pick it up and get a little fired up and start playing Walker Valley football.”
Bad snaps on extra points and field goal attempts were of particular concern with the Mustangs' coach.
“We've got a lot of work to do on that. We're still trying to find a long snapper. He's been snapping pretty good in practice, but he's rolled every one back tonight. I'm not real happy about that,” Ryan underscored. “Again, very lethargic. Just nonchalant instead of working to get better.”
The Mustangs head back to the practice field Monday and hit the road early Friday to Tullahoma for their second scheduled scrimmage of camp. Ryan and his coaching staff will be looking for extensive improvement before lining up against the Wildcats.
“We've just got to go back to work and start playing for each other instead of being individuals out there. We've got to start understanding this is a team and we've got to hustle. We can't just go through the motions and expect to be good. We're a blue collar football team and we've got to come to work every day.”