TENNERTON – Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle welcomed approximately 55 players to the first day of camp on Monday at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
The Bucs were met with temperatures in the high 80’s for their afternoon practice session.
Stoeckle, beginning his seventh year as head coach of the Bucs, said he is going to use this first week of practice as a starting point on where his team left off during their June practices.
“We are going to hit the ground running from where we left off in June,” remarked Stoeckle. “Those players that attended our June flex day practices, our seven on seven and our off-season weight lifting program have really made great strides and we are excited about our potential.”
Stoeckle also said this first week is used to implement new looks on offense and defense.
“You can expect some new wrinkles on offense, defense and special teams,” noted Stoeckle. “We try to make adjustments from year-to-year that fit our personnel and competition.”
While not fully committing to every spot being open in practice, Stoeckle and his staff will use this week to find out where the best fits are for the players.
“We will see how the players respond to the competition in practice and our scrimmages and will play those players that give us the best chance to be successful. We will always play as many kids as we can on Friday nights.”
Stoeckle said out of the 55 players, 20 are freshmen or first-year players.
“Some of the larger schools will have 80 or more players, which provides great competition in practice. But instead of focusing on the overall number, it’s really more important to have the ‘right’ players here than having quantity.”
Stoeckle’s assistant coaching staff will be familiar to most Buccaneer fans.
Joining Stoeckle on the sidelines will be once again Rob Carr, Chuck Harper, Buffy Johnson, Dave Lewellyn, Bill Plymale, Adam Squires and Scott Stoeckle.
“My assistants are good coaches but even better men,” remarked Stoeckle. “I have trusted my own two sons to play under these men. They are loyal and have worked to improve every year by going to coaches clinics, watching film, listening to podcasts and attending on-campus college clinics.”
The Bucs are coming off a 5-5 season where they just missed out on the play-offs.
They lost 16 seniors from last year’s team.
The Bucs will open their season Aug. 30 at home against Fairmont Senior at 7 p.m.
They will then hit the road the following Friday for a contest at Ripley at 7:30 p.m.