Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Niwot football begins summer workouts


Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot football players practiced in full pads during summer workouts.

Though the official start of the 2017-18 high school football season is another two months away, Niwot’s new head football coach Jeremy Lanter has had his team hard at work for weeks.

In May, Lanter held 90-minute practices on Thursday nights for current players and students interested in joining the team. Less than a week after school ended, those Cougars upperclassmen welcomed 45 incoming freshmen to a three-day clinic aimed at acquainting the newcomers with Niwot Football culture. During the mini-camp, veterans passed on what they learned during those spring practices, which Lanter hoped would help foster team chemistry.

“Those freshman are getting coached not only by the coaches, but the players as well,” explained Lanter. “We’re just trying to “A,” get them to feel like they’re involved in what’s going on, and “B”, to get them some individual instruction.”

On the heels of freshman camp, Lanter held a four-day “pre-camp” at Niwot focused on football drills. Immediately afterwards, he took 60 players to a three-day full-contact team camp at CSU-Pueblo. There, the Cougars joined nine other Colorado high school teams for four days of scrimmages, 7-on-7 tournaments, and individual coaching from the staff of the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves. “We’re basically playing football 24 hours per while we’re there,” Lanter said.

Things slow down some for the Cougars after their return from Pueblo, mostly due to CHSAA rules governing off-season practice time. To help players maintain conditioning, Lanter has joined with R.E.A.L. Training, a competitive training club headed by Niwot track coach Maurice Henriques. Two times per week, R.E.A.L. Training coaches conduct speed and development workouts for the team, alternated with football specific training another two days. Lanter doesn’t have any other university camps scheduled for his team this summer, but is hoping to have scrimmages or joint practices with the teams from Erie and Roosevelt.

Though Lanter feels the team has a head start on the 2017-18 season, he also knows a great deal of work lies ahead.

“There’s a lot of excitement about something different, but that has a tendency to show up any time you change something,” he said. “Hopefully we’re getting kids here who are having a good time and enjoying the process.”

He is also hoping to add at least two more assistants, bringing his full staff to 15. Currently there are about 13 assistants, most of whom are new to the program, though many key members of the previous staff remain.

“We’re trying to get a lot of coaches in the program,” Lanter said, adding that he hopes players will be able to have a closer relationship with their coaches in his system. “Instead of having one coach for every ten kids, we’re looking at one coach for every six kids.”

He is also still in the process of evaluating talent, and isn’t quite ready to name any starters.

“We don’t have anyone slotted into starting positions yet,” Lanter said, clearly hesitant to give away too much pre-season strategy. “But there are certainly kids in those roles and those spots, and there are also some kids who have shown a lot of leadership.”

For Lanter, strong leadership from veteran players will be key to his new team’s prospects for success next season, and so far he likes what he sees from the Cougars.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” he said. “They’ve done a really, really good job of trying to learn new systems, and they’ve been showing up to everything. They’re really working hard, and showing leadership. We had 18 seniors at camp with us, and that’s the buy-in you need to turn things around.”


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