Kirk Pierce admittedly doesn’t like two-a-days.
“I don’t know who looks forward to two-a-days,” Pierce said after Houston’s Tuesday afternoon practice. “But it’s the start of football. That’s what I look forward to.
“You’ve gotta go through two-a-days just like everyone else does, and it’s a crucial part of football to get better.”
The Tigers officially kicked off their football season Monday with the start of weeklong two-a-day practices under new coach Chris Edwards. Except for a three-hour practice Wednesday, the team works out from 7 until 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. until 1:10 p.m. each day.
The workouts alone are challenging. Doing them in heat indexes that will reach triple digits this week makes the start of football even more taxing.
“No one really likes being out here two times a day in the heat,” said junior Travis Barker. “But it’s really important because we’re out here 4 1/2 hours on the field learning things. It’s crucial because we’ve got to get better.”
Houston enters the preseason motivated to bury a nightmarish 2006. The Tigers didn’t win a game under first-year coach Josh Gettler, who shortly after the season resigned.
Pierce said practices under Edwards, who spent the previous three seasons at Versailles, remind him of his freshman and sophomore years under former Houston coach Wes Beachler. The Tigers made consecutive state semifinal appearances under Beachler before he left for Parkview.
“You get back to the feeling that you have something to play for,” Pierce said.
Edwards’ style is beginning to soak in after two summer camps. He said he hoped to have his entire system in place by the end of the week, then tweak it the days leading to the season opener at Marionville.
About 45 players participated in the first two days of practice.
“Whatever offense or defense you run, you can be successful if the kids believe in it and are willing to compete at a high level all the time,” Edwards said. “For the most part, our kids have done a great job of buying into (the system), flying around and having fun.”
Barker said things already feel different than last year under Gettler.
“We’ve got a better coach who is more experienced. He’s more of a coach than a friend, like last year,” he said. “We’re working harder and we’re serious. It’s a whole different game out here now.”