It could easily be a serious case of deja vu when taking a look at Longview’s first-team offense at practice this week.
There’s a lot of familiar faces out there for the Lobos, who enter their fifth practice of fall camp today.
Longview head coach John King said the high number of returning players, especially offensively, has led to four days of continuing to build and install.
“After four days, I’ve been really impressed with our retention level and it should be high with the number of returning lettermen we have returning on the offensive side of the ball and it’s the same case defensively as well,” King said. “I think we’ve had great effort, exceptional attitudes and a just a sense of wanting to be here and getting things going.”
Offensively, where nine starters are back, the Lobos have put to use the high numbers that do return.
“We’ve just steadily installed and we’re at a point where the majority of our base offense is in,” King said. “There’s a few tweaks we’ll add along the way.
“Again, it should be that way when you have nine returning starters back and, really, a varsity player at every spot and in some cases more than one. We just need to continue to work, build and improve on the little things.”
Defensively, position changes and figuring out the right mix of players has been the name of the game.
“It hasn’t been bad on that side of the ball considering the number of changes we’ve made depth-chart wise and with the moves we’ve made,” King said. “We’ve got guys competing for who is going to be the guy.
“We’re throwing a lot at them and we have to be ready for what comes down the road with the different formations we’ll see. They’re grinding pretty good over there.”
With the new acclimatization period in place for the first time this season, Longview, as well as other 5A/6A teams that went through spring training, will move to limited player-to-player contact today.
Then in the sixth practice, which will come Saturday for Longview, full contact is allowed.
Saturday is media day for the Lobos, which will kick off with team pictures beginning at 8 a.m. The freshmen and junior varsity will scrimmage beginning around 9:30 a.m. with the varsity getting going around 10:30 a.m.
King said each unit will get in 50-60 snaps.
Here’s a few observations from Longview’s first four days of practice:
■ OFFENSE: It’s familiar face after familiar face offensively with the return of Marcus Williams, who joins three-year starter Gavin Roberts, returners Kaylon Allen and Marcus Allen as well as 14-game starter and junior Parker Cox on the offensive line. Then there’s Keilyn Williams, Jessie Anderson, Kamden Perry and Haynes King also back. ... The biggest hole to fill offensively is at tight end, where returner Daquavion Randall has handled the first-team reps. Senior Logan Peters and junior Jhailon Braden are also in the mix at tight end. ... Out wide, Perry picked up right where he left off in his junior season, showing his ball skills and blocking throughout. ... The biggest position change has come from Jacob Johnson, who has started his senior season off in a green jersey at safety. He’ll also see time at receiver as well. ... Johnson’s move has opened up competition at receiver with junior Kaden Kearbey seeing a lot of first-team reps. DK Mumphrey, Keith Halton, Kyas More and Miguel Maldonado are all among the heavy rotation at receiver. ... JD Williams and Kaden Meredith are two players on the second-team that continue to make things happen with the football. Williams is running the second-team offense at quarterback and Meredith has seen time at the slot as well.
■ DEFENSE: Ja’Vontae Writt is back a linebacker as is Tyshawn Taylor, a junior who had a solid spring. ... The defensive line has thrown out a number of different looks and combinations led by Jaylen Allen with returners Jaydyn James-Rollins, Jordan Wallace, Jared Reese, Sawyer Goram-Welch and Andrew Beltran. ... Sophomores that are seeing first-team reps include Kybrien Jackson-Jamerson and Laqualon Hale, both at linebacker ... Juvarrs Lampin and Robert Pierce join Johnson and three-year starter Jephaniah Lister at safety
■ TRANSFERS: Three new faces have joined the Lobos this fall: Cedric Smith (5-11, 205, LB) and Asontaye Smith (6-4, 200, WR) from Cedar Hill as well as Isiah Rodgers, a 5-10, 170-pound defensive back from Hallsville.
■ SCRIMMAGE: Longview’s lone scrimmage of the preseason is set for 5 p.m. for the junior varsity and 7 p.m. for the varsity against Texas High on Aug. 24 in Texarkana.