Asked what their focus is in the preseason a number of coaches will revert to a cliche answer of technique. In Magazine Rattler head coach Doug Powell’s case, there’s nothing cliche about it.
Powell has a bulging roster — by Magazine standards — of 33 players, which includes five players in uniform through the so-called Tim Tebow rule that allows home school students to participate in public school extracurricular activities.
The number of those new to the program is even larger with the addition of transfer students. Add in some sophomores who are new to the speed of senior high and technique is crucial.
Plus, Powell has immediate history to prove the point of how important being technically sound can be because Magazine, after winning 38 games and a state title over three years, dropped to 4-6 and out of the playoffs last year.
Last season the Rattlers were often their own worst enemy. Besides turnovers, Magazine killed drives with unforced penalties, exchange miscues, missed blocking assignments.
The result was the Rattlers scored 16 or fewer points six times last year, discounting the one quarter, weather shortened game at Quitman in week two. The defense kept the Rattlers in some of those games by allowing 13 or less in three of those games — again, omitting the Quitman game — and just 22 in another loss.
One of those games was a 16-13 win over Hector, who Powell says has to be the favorite going into the season this year. Another was a 12-8 loss to J.C. Westside that ultimately cost the Rattlers a playoff game when the teams finished tied for fifth.
Miscues in practice this year have been met with punitive measures and running plays until everything looks correct, no matter how long it takes.
Magazine was to scrimmage at Mansfield on Tuesday. The Rattlers open the season on Sept. 6 at Class 3A Greenland. Greenland beat the Rattlers 35-0 in 2012.