SHS begins practice seeking return trip to playoffs
Starkville High head football coach Jamie Mitchell (center) shouts instructions during the first day of fall practice on Monday.
Starkville High School head football coach Jamie Mitchell issued a challenge to his team at the end of the second of two practices to start the preseason on Monday.
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The goal he emphasized for his first season with the Yellowjackets is making a return to the Class 6A playoffs.
Starkville was able to do that last year, but was dominated and eliminated in the first round by Madison Central 63-27.
Mitchell believes the playoffs is somewhere the Jackets are supposed to be and wants them to perform better when they get there.
If Starkville senior linebacker D.J. Jordan has anything to do with it, the postseason will take a more positive twist this season.
"I'm already claiming whenever we go to the playoffs, it's going to be different," Jordan said.
Jordan knows it starts with the commitment on the practice field for the Jackets and that is something he intends to give the coaching staff.
Mitchell likes the attitude and dedication Jordan has shown on the practice field.
"He's a class kid," Mitchell said. "I'll take a million of him. He's a true winner and one of those kids we're tremendously proud of."
Starkville's players worked through a hot and humid morning session, but were greeted with a cooler workout in the afternoon with cloudy skies and a nice gentle breeze.
"We got so lucky with the weather and we won't get many of these days," Mitchell said. "To get it on the first afternoon certainly helps."
Mitchell said the Jackets are still in the process of learning the right way to practice, but was pleased saying "it was a pretty solid first day."
Starkville concentrated on the kicking game and passing attack in both practices.
"We spend more than half of our practice time on kicking game," Mitchell said. "When you are in shorts and t-shirts, there's not a whole lot you can do. You can throw the ball around a lot.
"We'll continue to do a lot of that through Wednesday and have all of our kicking game in by Wednesday, then get it polished up as we go, and we'll continue to throw the football over the next couple of days until we get in the shoulder pads when we'll start working on the running game."
Mitchell, who had 65 players at practice, noticed an upbeat tempo from the group and it appeared they wanted to get better.
"That's all we can ask out of them," Mitchell said.
Jordan isn't afraid of a little hard work and loved the approach of the first day of practice.
"Coach has got us working hard," Jordan said. "The tempo of practice is real fast and that's how coach wants it to be. We're just getting better and better. We need to show everybody what we can do."