Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe
During coach Brian Vaughan’s first official practice as the head coach of the Boston English football team, his message was very clear: it’s all about improvement.
“These guys have been working hard all summer in the weight room and in the seven-on-seven passing leagues,” Vaughan said. “We have a lot of young guys. For some, it’s their first time playing high school football and also playing football in general. We’re hoping for the best and as long as we work hard, good things will happen.”
As 24 players bustled out onto the practice field dragging pads and carrying cones, it was evident that the majority of the Eagles were itching to get back on the gridiron. Football was once again beginning for English.
Senior quarterback Dhejour Relerford expressed his approval of Vaughan’s immediate influence.
“He coaches everybody hard,” Relerford said. “Everybody’s been in the weight room, and he always pushes us to be better than we were last year. I like him.”
Vaughan coached at Pope John in Everett for the previous four years until English hired him last January. When asked about the difficulty in transitioning into a new staff, Vaughan seemed confident, especially in developing relationships between his fellow coaches and players.
“We have guys coaching the kids in every position,” Vaughan said. “I’ve got eight guys on my staff; these guys love football, some of them have been with me my whole time at Pope John. They love the opportunity and challenge of building a new program.”
The Eagles don't seem too interested in English’s recent mascot change, even if it is one of the the oldest public high schools in the country. In fact, starting center Christopher Banks said that this Eagles team mindset is all football.
“Changing the mascot to the Eagles doesn’t really have an impact on us because we’re just focused on winning and getting our mindset right for week one,” Banks said. “I want to go to the Super Bowl and beat BLS on thanksgiving. I’m excited for the season to start.”
Following a disappointing 3-7 record last season, Vaughan and company look to revamp a young Boston English team that had 24 players at its first practice, 7 more than they had at last seasons Thanksgiving game. And with a new coach who eats and sleeps the sport, things are looking better for English.
“I’m never out of football,” Vaughan said. “During the winter I’m breaking down films, so I’m always thinking about it. Ever since I was eight I've been either playing or coaching. We’re excited, I’m excited, and this is exciting times here at English. I don’t know how much will translate to wins, but we’ll be competing, I know that.”
Globe correspondent Justin A. Rice contributed this report.
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.