CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It's only been six months since Steven Freeman was handed the reins of the Riverside High School football program.
Freeman, 26, was named as the Warriors' head coach last December following the retirement of long time East Bank High and Riverside Coach Ralph Hensley.
But for Freeman, a Cabell Midland and Marshall University graduate, the time span between his hiring and the beginning of the three-week June practice period has seemed much longer.
"This offseason has seemed particularly long while waiting for our first practices to come around," said Freeman, a former offensive and defensive lineman who graduated from Cabell Midland in 2005.
"Time has been dragging the last couple of weeks waiting for this period to come," he said.
Freeman's wait finally concluded Monday morning as the annual June practice period began for high school sports programs around the state.
For Freeman, who served as Huntington High's wide receivers coach, special teams coach, and passing game coordinator the past two seasons, the much needed practice time will be used to lay the foundation of his offensive and defensive philosophies.
"Our goal during this three-week period is to get our kids to understand the base system offensively and defensively, so when we get to August we're not running behind," said Freeman, who expected around 60 players to participate. "I've watched all their game films from last season and we only have a handful of kids returning that contributed on Friday nights.
"I don't have film on the rest of the kids. We have a lot of incoming sophomores and juniors that we don't know a lot about. Our roster is heavy with young kids and we're going to have kids that haven't played on Friday night.