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DeKalb

Weckler making sure DeKalb football takes care of little things

DeKALB – Paper work and pep talks.

It's not exactly what jumps to mind when thinking about practice. But for the DeKalb football team's first practice Monday, that's what things looked like – for a while anyway.

Second-year coach Matt Weckler said even his expectations are tempered when it comes to Day 1.

"The first thing is just meeting expectations and deadlines," Weckler said. "I want to see who has their physical in, who has their paperwork done and all that kind of stuff."

The team returned later in the day to take the field just before a downpour hit the area. Weckler said he's looking to see what kind of energy the team brings.

The Barbs open the season against Vernon Hills on Aug. 29 at home as they look to make the playoffs for the second year in a row and third time in five seasons. Before their 2010 trip, the last time they made the playoffs was in 1989.

"We just want to improve on where we finished off last year," Weckler said. "Our seniors last year took this program to the playoffs ... and we just want as a group to continue on what they left off."

For some players, like four-year starter and Illinois recruit Dre Brown, practice becomes old hat – whether it's the first practice of the year or not.

"I just go in with the same mindset – get in, get your work done and get out," Brown said. "I know it's hot but we have to get rid of the excuses and just get to work."

Senior linebacker Jake Keykendall said he still feels some extra excitement before the first practice.

"You take it as any other day of practice," Keykendall said. "You're a little jacked up, first day, getting ready to go. But you have to take it like the other practices – give 100 percent."

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