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Eagles Spring Football Practice in Full Flight as Team Prepares for Upcoming Season Under New Coach

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It may not seem like spring with the cool temperatures and the heavy rainfall, but it is, and it is time when high school football programs across the state transition from the spring sports season to the upcoming fall seasons. And new Paris head football coach Jeff Weaver has not let up since the day he was hired a few weeks ago.

Resident Press had planned to photograph the Eagles spring football practice today, but the weather forced the the team indoors. When I visited the team today, the senior high football players were hard at work in the weight room, and their new head football coach was preparing to meet with the team to continue the install of his system. I want to publicly thank Coach Weaver and the entire football staff for allowing me inside today to photograph the players as they worked through their weight and strength training program.

Resident Press Photo

Before the players finished their workout, I had the opportunity to sit down with the new Paris coach to talk about spring football practice and the progress he is seeing in his new team. Coach Weaver was very generous in taking time to visit with me before his meeting with the team, and I sincerely thank him for giving me and the Paris football fans a glimpse into how the program is progressing under his leadership.

I started out our conversation by mentioning to Coach Weaver that one of the many things I have been impressed with him so far is how he has “hit the ground” running since his hire by the Paris school board. Coach Weaver was hired on a Thursday night, and on the very next morning, he met with every group of players in the program, as well as watched the senior high team work out. Coach Weaver is a seasoned head football coach and he knows exactly what he wants to do and how he intends to accomplish the goals that he has for himself and the team.

Resident Press Photo

So, with the rain pouring outside, Coach and I visited in the quiet office that would precede his players meeting. Coach Weaver began by saying, “From what I am used to, I am a little worried about the late start (having been hired in late April). Coming in late April, having spring ball right around the corner…so it was real important to me to get over and observe and get to know the kids and coaches. I really spent two weeks more or less just watching and planing for our spring. I was immediately impressed by the work ethic of the kids. I think the staff has done a great job of holding them together during the time they were going through the head coaching search, and the kids enjoyed last season’s success and are hungry to go out and duplicate or even improve on that. So, I have been really impressed with the team; there is no entitlement attitude here. The kids are fired up and are going to work. Now that we have started spring practice, I continue to see that. I feel like we have the potential to have a really good football team.”

Resident Press Photo

Now that baseball season has ended and Coach Weaver has those players in his program for the duration of the 2021 football season, I asked Coach where he felt the team was with respect to their progress in learning his system and installing terminology and concepts into the playbook for 2021. Coach Weaver said, “We have really focused on offense so far, because we will keep our base defense with Coach Baxter being the defensive coordinator. We plan our third practice, which now will be on Thursday, to be more defensive, but we have had a few days of offensive practice. The good thing is what they (Paris) did the last three years offensively and what we will do this year moving forward will be similar. To the naked eye, it will probably look somewhat like the same, but it’s a lot of new terminology, and there are little changes that are being made here and there. But since our kids are already use to that, it’s not like coming in from a “ground and pound style” to something totally different. It’s very similar. So I think we are able to get quite a bit in right away. We are behind, but a lot of people are due to baseball, track, etc. But I feel like we are not so far behind that we can’t get to where we need to be by the end of June. I like to have everything pretty much in by the end of June.”

Having a senior-heavy team will help the new coach in the rapid install of his system for the upcoming season. Coach remarked, “It makes it a lot easier to have, especially, a three year starter returning at quarterback…again, there is new terminology that he and I can go in and watch film, go through our drill, all of those sort of things, and communicate really quickly. We’ve go running backs back, we have linemen back…we have moved players to receiver just because of how we like to use certain plays to get the ball to different positions. Those guys have made the move and are doing really well. So, the experience that they bring has certainly made it a lot easier to install.”

Without diving too far into Coach’s strategy on how he may attack certain opponents on his schedule, I asked him about his offense and defense’s ability to play against a variety of offensive attacks, including the physical, flexbone attacks of West Fork and Booneville. Again without divulging too much detail, I will just leave it at this: Coach knows what he wants to do, and his team will be prepared. That is all I am going to say, but in our conversation, I was impressed by a coach who “has done this before”, and he and the Eagles will not be afraid of anyone.

In fact, Paris will still be the bigger team against many of their opponents on the 2021 schedule. So it will not be as if Paris will be playing with a decided size disadvantage this coming season. Coach Weaver added, “I think their (the Eagles) experience last year against these teams (West Fork, Booneville, and others) makes our kids not afraid of anybody and we just have to go out and execute our stuff.”

Depending on the outcome of the Paris Lady Eagles’ title run this week and potentially next weekend, Resident Press will be at one of the late week spring football practices next week to bring you photos of the action and more comments and reactions from Jeff Weaver. Coach Weaver reminded me that anyone is welcome to attend the Paris football practices. The late practices next week will have scrimmages that could include live contact as part of their preparation. There will not be a blue / white game at the end of spring ball, but he encourages the public to come out and see the scrimmage components of the individual practices. Spring practice will end on approximately May 25. The final two Fridays will have significant scrimmages included in the practices.

Resident Press Photo

Moving into the summer, Coach Weaver has the team scheduled to participate in 7-on-7 scrimmages to get in extra offensive reps before August pre-season practice begins. Coach said, “We have a 7-on-7 tournament in June at Poyen (located west of Sheridan), another in July at Clinton, and a team camp at Clarksville in June. I am looking for a couple of more team camps. And then there are some 7-on-7 passing leagues in Russellville that Dardanelle hosts that I am probably going to put us in, as well. I have always done quite a bit of 7-on-7; I enjoy them and I think the kids enjoy them. Every year, I will always have us in two or three tournaments. I created one when I was the coach at Little Rock Christian.”

Coach Weaver and the Paris football program will hold a meeting next Tuesday, May 18, at 7 p.m., at the high school cafeteria of all football players and parents of students who will be in grades 8-12 in the 2021-22 school year. I will publish this announcement on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports as well. Coach Weaver asked me to spread the word of this important football parents/players meeting next Tuesday at PHS.

So…Eagles fans….are you getting excited? I am…I left Coach Weaver’s office wishing the new football season was starting this Friday night! But, it will be a busy spring and summer for the football Eagles, and before you know it, they will be reporting for fall practice, and a short time after that, it will be time for the pre-season practice. And then…just a little more than a week later, the season will start!

So stay with Resident Press as we bring you all of the latest and the most complete coverage of Paris Eagles football!

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