Article by Tom Green
The Youth Highland Wildcats have been reunited after the HACL season and participated in the first practice of the season. When the team arrived at the Blitz this afternoon they were given a warm welcome and a briefing by Head Coach Robbie Paulin and the team’s aims for the season were outlined. These goals included retaining the Scottish Championship for the 5th year in a row and winning this year’s edition of BritBowl.
After the briefing the players were separated into offensive and defensive units where they were taken through plays they would be executing during the practice. Each unit also wore a different coloured practice jersey to help identify their roles. The offense took to the field in a black practice jersey and the defense wore a red practice jersey.
Once up at the field the separate units went into a walkthrough install period. The players then went into the warm up knowing what they were going to be doing throughout the day. After the warm up all the players (with the exceptions of the quarterbacks) participated in tackling drills before separating into their positions for more specialist training.
During the more specific training the Quarterbacks worked on throwing the ball, the wide receivers worked on running routes, the running backs also ran their routes, the linebackers and defensive backs worked on coverage and the lineman worked on the more physical side of the game in limited contact drills.
After the drills the players were split into two groups to enable the team to run two separate scrimmages. The fields had been lined out before the session by Dave Paulin (the accounts/facilities/camera operator of the Wildcats organisation) which was a massive aid for the coaching staff and players during the scrimmages. The two scrimmages were also filmed from high angles thanks again to Dave and also Nicola Muir.
It has been harder than ever before to pick a single individual who stood out from the session so instead I have selected two players.
The first of which is seasoned Wildcats player Stephen McMeechan. A very strong performance throughout the day and he is a player who seems comfortable anywhere on the field.
The second player which stood out to me was Fergus Mackenzie who was playing at linebacker throughout the day. This will be his first season in the BAFANL and after a Highland Bowl victory with the Millburn Academy Eagles he should be full of confidence heading into the Wildcats. He is a welcome addition to the team.
The practice couldn’t have happened though without the coaches and volunteers who kept the day running smoothly and efficiently. Team Welfare Officer Marion Macleod also linked up with a local business, Leachkin Bakery (https://www.facebook.com/LeachkinBakery), to donate a wonderful selection of cakes to the club as well as making sure all the players stayed hydrated throughout the day.
Hopefully the effort shown in this practice will last throughout the season to help the Wildcats achieve its goals by the end of the season.