• Jonathan Cleland hauls in a touchdown pass in the 34-20 win over Bandera in October 2015. At that time, Cleland was the leading receiver in the district. Battlin’ Billies fans can expect to see Cleland as one of the veterans on the field this year. — Standard-Radio Post file photo

Billies facing changes in ’16

Change is in the air for the Battlin’ Billies, but Fredericksburg Independent School District (FISD) Athletic Director Lance Moffett has decided to embrace it.

So much so, that he’s made “Win the change” the mantra for his 2016 squad.

“Everything we do is changing,” Moffett said, pointing out the Fredericksburg High School Battlin’ Billies will have new uniforms, a new scoreboard, a new press box on the visitor side, a new academic schedule, construction of new buildings on campus and a change to the time and structure of team practices.

“As with anything, change is not easy. Change is hard. But, we’re going to accentuate all the good that’s going to come out of this,” Moffett said. “We have to embrace the change and, in my mind, we’re going to win the change.”

The process of adapting will be a great life lesson for not just his athletes, but all students, he said.

“Things are going to change in our lives and, if you’re not ready to adjust to it, then you’re not going to be successful in life,” Moffett said. “Our kids are going to understand a little bit about what it’s like to be an adult.”

That lesson started Aug. 1, when the Fredericksburg High School (FHS) football players turned up for the first of their summer practices.

Returning veterans would note right away that coaches had adopted a “two platoon” format, meaning they were going to assign players to either primary offense or primary defense.

Then, practices this year would see them start spending 75 percent of their time running drills on their primary assignment, while the balance is spent training on the other side of the ball.

For the past five years, Moffett said practices were split 50/50 between offense and defense. But, for most athletes, that meant spending half their time not doing what they needed to be focusing on to improve.

“Effectively we’re going to get more use of our practice time,” Moffett said.

“We’re still going to have kids play both ways. We’re going to play our best people,” Moffett said.

But, if fans look back at the past two seasons, they will have seen a departure from kids playing both ways. “Skilled players, I don’t mind them playing both ways, but linemen don’t need to play both ways because they are exposed to violent encounters every play,” he said.

As far as the season ahead, Moffett is optimistic — despite a prediction by Dave Campbell’s 2016 Texas Football magazine that expects Fredericksburg will finish fourth out of five teams in District 14-4A.

As far as he’s concerned, that puts him in the underdog position, which he loves just fine because it gives him something with which to light a fire under his kids, Moffett said.

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Fredericksburg Standard

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