West in Peace: Wolves enjoy more relaxed pace during bye week
At this point last year, the Plano West football team was heading into its second district contest, a matchup against Plano East that resulted in the first four-overtime game in Wolves' history.
This Friday was decidedly less stressful.
That's because a shift to a six-team district meant a bye for West (3-2) this week with 10-5A play beginning Friday.
"Obviously with this being a bye, we had a different week of practice than usual," said Mike Hughes, West head coach. "I'd say it was more relaxed and we allowed the guys to get their legs back under them, but we still hit the weights a lot and focused on conditioning."
"It's a little weird not preparing for an actual game on Friday," added Davis Roeschke, West senior defensive back. "It was a little more relaxed, but we still ran sprints, went hard in the weight room and got plenty of reps. Even though this was our bye week, no one has been loafing."
Film sessions usually occur the Saturday after a game, but West delayed its video viewing of last week's 47-7 victory over Flower Mound until Monday.
"It was a good session," Roeschke said. "Then again, I feel like that pretty much every chance we get to watch film because that serves as an opportunity to build on things you did well and grow in areas where you didn't."
And those film sessions are no longer reserved strictly for the locker room.
"With technology, there are so many more opportunities for kids today," Hughes said. "They can go home and watch film on their iPad or their phone."
No doubt the film of Week 3's 49-35 loss to Mesquite remains of particular interest.
"Look, Mesquite deserves credit because they are a really good team," Roeschke said. "But I look at that game and feel like we lost because of our mistakes. If we can fix those, we still have the mindset we can beat anyone."
That was a theme echoed by Hughes.
"Turnovers," he said. "We've had those in our last several games and that's something that can't happen going into district."
And he doesn't feel it will.
"I think when you look at the whole year you will see that Mesquite was a turning point for our season," Hughes said. "We played a really good team, we lost, but we learned from that loss and I think it will make us better."
West's next opportunity to prove that comes at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it opens district on the road against McKinney Boyd (3-2) from Ron Poe Stadium. After Monday's film session, Tuesday served as a walkthrough for the Wolves as they started game planning for the Broncos.
"We want to come strong into district," Roeschke said. "Boyd is a good team, so it was important to get a good head start on preparing for them. If we win that game, it will only give us more confidence going forward."
Preparation for the Broncos begins with stud running back Bryan Driskell, who already has 915 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground this season to go along with nine receptions.
"We've been setting up our game plan," Hughes said. "And if you don't stop the run versus Boyd, your game plan isn't going to be successful."
While West was off this week, so was the majority of 10-5A. The only district team playing was Plano Senior and West skipped watching the Wildcats' game Thursday against Flower Mound Marcus due to having already seen Plano in person once this season.
"It's been a five-week grind and that can definitely wear on you," Hughes said, "so this was a good time for the players as well as the coaches to take a breath, relax and regroup mentally and physically."
Despite no game Friday, many members of the Wolfpack were still together.
"I wasn't planning on going out and scouting," Roeschke said, "just getting together with guys from the team and hanging out."
That is no doubt what the West coaches want to hear as team chemistry has been described as one of the squad's primary positives heading into a 10-5A race where the Wolves feel as though they can make the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and potentially win a district title for the first time since 2004.
"The guys have been working hard preparing this week," Hughes said, "because the next five weeks are going to be big."