Jeff Williams was at the first day of football practice Monday morning, but he didn't have a whistle around his neck.
The first-year Siloam Springs athletics director admitted it was a strange feeling.
"It definitely feels a weird," he said. "It didn't feel weird in the spring, but it does feel different now."
I would imagine most of us would feel the same way if we were in Williams' shoes, his first August not being a head football coach -- or even an assistant coach -- in a long, long time.
Now he's moved over to the administrative side of things, having to handle purchase orders, personnel, finances, the list can go on and on. Things that often keep one inside behind a desk, in front of a computer and not outside on the turf watching football practice.
There will be plenty of time ahead for all that desk work, Jeff. Sometimes you just need to go watch football practice.
I'll have to admit, there's really nothing like the first day of football practice. The enthusiasm is usually at a sky-high level, and it was Monday morning for the Siloam Springs football team.
There was some trash talking between the offense and defense, and that's a good thing to see. Before too long some of that will wane a bit as we really hit the dog days of summer and fall camp becomes a grind. And when it gets closer to the first live competition of the season, things will ramp back up again.
Intensity will kick up a notch during today's (Wednesday) practice as the Panthers will get to put on shoulder pads and have some live contact. The first two days, Monday and Tuesday, were in helmets only.
That doesn't mean there wasn't some intensity though.
Particularly fun was the "Five Alive" period at the end of Monday's practice. The varsity offense went against the varsity defense, starting at the 25-yard line, with five plays to score.
The defense won the first round. After a ninth-grade part of "Five Alive" where the offense won, head coach Brandon Craig announced one more try for the offense.
This time the Panthers got inside the 10-yard line and came close to scoring on a Jed Derwin run, except the sophomore running back was ruled down at the 1-yard line, after being touched.
"That would have been a touchdown in pads," Derwin said after the play.
Quarterback Hunter Talley ran in for the score on the next play. Something tells me we're going to see a lot of Talley on the QB keeper in short yardage situations. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, that seems like a good option to me.
-- Graham Thomas is the managing editor for the Herald-Leader. He can be reached at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.