LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Lufkin Panthers were in full pads Monday afternoon for the first time since losing to Spring Westfield in the first round of the playoffs. Several key players, including projected starting quarterback Tyler Stubblefield were still out due to baseball season, but head coach Todd Quick is excited to answer some questions about the 2012 team during these practices.
"I'm excited but the kids are too, they are excited to get out of the weight room and do something different," said Quick. "We have been building for this, since practice lets them work on things, but it also lets us answer some questions before we get out for the summer."
Monday's practice also marked the first full practice with Quick leading without the late John Outlaw. Quick admits it is different, but they are planning to handle it together as a Panther family.
"This is one of many steps we have to go through together," said Quick. "We will go through it again at the spring game, during summer workouts and then it will really hit us on August 31st, but we have handled it well as a group of kids and coaches."
The Panthers are returning 5 starters on offense and 5 starters on defense from a 2011 team that was undefeated through 14-5A district play. This year's district drops Kingwood and Atascocita while adding Bryan and A&M Consolidated, but Quick believes that the Panthers are already comfortable facing the new opponents.
"They are both spread teams which is a good thing for our defense since that is what they see every day at practice with our offense," said Quick. "Facing our offense every day will give us a chance to work on preparing for those teams."
The Panthers open the 2012 season against John Tyler at Rose Stadium on August 31st.