Outlaws football putting in summer work
By Thorn Compton
RAWLINS — From the early morning light, the sounds of athletes bettering themselves can be heard coming from the weight room at Rawlins High School as players for the 2016 Outlaws football team prepare for the upcoming season.
Starting at 6 a.m. almost every weekday, players of all grade levels are lifting weights, running sprints and working on their technique to ensure they approach the season ready to make an impact.
RHS head football coach Corey Wheeler said the level of commitment shown from his athletes is unprecedented in his tenure with the Outlaws.
“This is our best turnout in the summer since I’ve been here,” Wheeler said. “We have on average 30-40 kids every morning bright and early. It’s a good group of guys this year and a commitment level we haven’t had in the past. There’s also a determination to raise the bar from where we’ve been in past seasons.”
The team works on everything during the week, from position specific work to getting their body to in-season shape. Wheeler said they have focused specifically on player speed and strength during their offseason workouts.
“We are just building power and speed,” Wheeler said of their work. “I think that’s the fundamentals of every sport. If you don’t work on those year-round you’re going to be behind when it comes season time.”
While other coaches might be content to sit back and watch their team get ready, Wheeler is working out right alongside his team. Coming off a 2-6 2015 campaign, Wheeler said his team is primed to make a leap forward on the field because of their work during the summer.
In the weeks leading up to the start of practice on Aug. 15, Wheeler said they have switched up what they are working on to make sure everyone is in tip-top shape.
“We are pulling back on our heavier sets and working more on conditioning,” Wheeler said of the shift. “We condition every Tuesday and Thursday, and we are also throwing twice a week with the quarterbacks and receivers.
“The o-line is working on footwork and fundamentals at night on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well. Just trying to gear up and take care of last minute things before the season.”
Most programs in the country are lead by senior members of the team, and Wheeler said there is no exception to that rule with his squad, but he is happy with the work incoming freshmen have also brought to the table.
“We’ve got a good group of older guys this year,” Wheeler said. “Our seniors and juniors have put in the work, but I’d say most of all I’m impressed with our freshmen. We have 10-15 freshmen every morning, which we haven’t had the last few years. They are showing a huge commitment and a drive to be better and fight for playing time.”
Actual game play is still over a month away, with the first game of the season set for Aug. 26 against Craig, Colo., here in Rawlins, but Wheeler said his team is ready to get on the field now and prove themselves.
“I’m expecting big things and I know the kids are too,” Wheeler said. “I’m just ready to get out there and get going.”