Enterprise staff writer
ÒWhat day is it?Ó boomed Davis High football head coach Steve Smyte.
ÒItÕs a great day to be a Blue Devil,Ó came the reply in unison from 100 grid hopefuls.
Smyte was talking to varsity, junior varsity and freshman players Monday, a day before his charges hit the field in earnest.
ÒIf youÕre not psyched about this year É I suggest you walk out that door now.Ó
No one left.
Smyte, who took over the reins barely three months ago, had the undivided attention of the small but intent group of players at a meeting at DHS.
The former Boise State and UC Davis assistant didnÕt mince words as he prepared the Devils for what could be a watershed season.
ÒI donÕt see us as three separate teams É we are a program,Ó Smyte continued. ÒWhat you say means nothing. What you do means everything.
ÒAnd having integrity is the most important thing we have. Have it and youÕll be successful in life.Ó
After introducing the coaches at all three levels, Smyte praised his staff as Ògood coaches who are more importantly good people.Ó
Smyte promised his players that itÕs Òthe little things you do well when no oneÕs watching É that will help you become a better person.Ó
As much as the coach said he wanted his guys to excel on the field, he told the players it is equally important to succeed in the community, classroom and at home.
To that end, Smyte wants his players to come to their coaches about problems. He told those gathered that coaches will keep tabs on playersÕ grades and he wants teammates to intervene if they know of a fellow Blue Devil struggling.
In addition to being an intelligent team, pride, courage and passion Òwill be part of this group,Ó Smyte continued.
ÒIt doesnÕt matter what people say Ñ itÕs what we do. Your belief system and what youÕre going to do to improve yourself every day (is how) confidence plays big dividends,Ó Smyte added.
While Davis is coming off back-to-back 2-8 seasons and has a herculean 2010 schedule that includes powerhouses Grant and Monterey Trail, Smyte and his staff reiterated to the players that playing the big boys is all about courage.
ÒI want you to respect everyone Ñ fear no one,Ó the coach went on during the one-hour talk.
Smyte says he wants a team that will be willing, and ready, Òto play anyone, anytime, anyplace.Ó
ÒNever give in,Ó the native Canadian and special-education instructor added. ÒThat, too, is part of being courageous.Ó
In closing, Smyte told the Devils to focus, ÒTo be here now.Ó
Today, after a brief chalk talk in the morning, the Blue Devils hit the field for two weeks of two-a-day workouts. The emphasis will be on offense in the mornings, defense and special teams in the afternoons. Smyte says his Blue Devils wonÕt be deep Ñ as many as five or six players will see two-way action Ñ but he likes the attitudes and skill levels heÕs seen so far.
Wednesday will be the first day in pads for DHS teams. The season will open on Friday, Sept. 3, against Armijo in what will be a faux home game at Pioneer High in Woodland. The following week, Pioneer is the site for a Sept. 10 game versus Sacramento.
If all goes well with construction on Halden Field, the Blue Devils will play their first real home game on Oct. 1 against Oakmont. Delta Valley Conference play begins Oct. 8 at Franklin.
Notes: Speaking of the Halden Field rehabilitation, Smyte told his players to be aware and grateful for what the community has invested in them. É Smyte broke the three teams into individual meetings, for another hour, before hosting a parentsÕ meeting in the DHS multipurpose room É After the Blue and White Scrimmage on Aug. 21, there will be a parentsÕ BBQ. É Photo day is Aug. 26.
Ñ Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8056. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com