TYLER, Texas (KETK) – “Six-to-Ten, we are here to win.”
That’s the motto for the Tyler Lee Red Raiders as they kicked off summer conditioning drills Monday, and were back together for the first time since early March.
While staying safe and maintaining social distance is priority, so is getting their preparations for the 2020 season back on track, while also getting to know their new head football coach Joe Willis a little bit better.
Back on the same field with his team Willis, resumes the task of getting the Red Raiders ready for his first season in the rose city.
“So much of a football team is chemistry. You know and knowing each other and trusting each other. And seeing each other work. And this is a great opportunity to do that now,” said Willis.
“We did lose a lot of time together. And I mean we lost spring ball and all that. So I mean we really gotta get out here and be locked in, and focused and ready to go,” said Lee senior quarterback Trent Adams.
“We’ve been out for what three months. So it’s not very much people been doing. So this is the time for everybody to push themselves. And get back into shape, and get back in the groove of working hard as a team and pushing each other,” said Red Raiders senior defensive end Garfield Lawrence.
After coming to East Texas from Colleyville Heritage, Willis had about a month with his guys before the start of the COVID-19 hiatus. And while they made sure that everyone worked out on their own, he says nothing replaces the opportunity to build chemistry, and get to know each other better, than doing it together.
“For me so much of this is learning you know the players. And learning, you know, who I can trust. And seeing who can perform at what level. And kind of get an understanding of where they may be able to help us on the football field,” said Willis.
“Any great team, you know what I mean, you gotta have great relationships everywhere. We did have a couple of weeks with Coach Willis before, so we got to know him a little bit. But I mean now, we’re about to really see what he’s about. I mean get to know all of the new coaches too. That’s a big step, cuz I mean they don’t know us either. I mean, you know, we’re all just, you know making first impressions right now. So it’s very important that we have good days, and we just stack’em together,” said Adams.
Adams, who returns as Lee’s starting quarterback, is part of the new Redshirts Leadership Council established by Willis.
It includes key pieces such as three-star junior running back Jamarion Miller, and defensive back Jakelyn Morgan.
“We told those guys if the best players are the hardest workers on the team, you’re gonna have a chance and they have been. And one of our goals as a team is to be player-led not coach-fed. And that’s a big deal to us to have a good player-leadership group that has a voice,” said Willis.
The Red Raiders are coming off their first playoff season since 2014 with a number of starters returning from a 6-5 campaign.
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