Training camp kicked off Monday in Graham with the "Running of the Steers."
Coach Kenny Davidson had to run his Steers a lot in the morning, because with new rules in place this year, "two-a-days" are a thing of the past.
"It's something new," Davidson said. "I've been coaching 28, 29 years and this is the first time we've been told that you can't have two-a-days."
He says he's taking advantage of the new free time in the afternoons to focus on teaching and hit the weights.
"It's gonna give us a chance to come into the fieldhouse and to work on our mental [aspect]. Watch some film, make sure we've got the head game going, as well as lifting."
The team's base level of conditioning should get a boost from a nice summer of 7-on-7 work.
The Steers reached the Division II Finals at the State Tournament last month in College Station.
"Getting second in 7-on-7 just gives us a lot of confidence," said junior Bryce Reeves. "We know we can do good in the season."
Reeves played on that 7-on-7 team and will be counted on as a key two-way player this year. He replaced Brian Sides last year after the senior safety was injured against Mineral Wells and was one of the team's top tacklers, as well as its leading receiver.
"It helps with our timing," said junior quarterback Ben Davis. "That's, I think, the biggest problem we've had. We all know the plays, we all know where we're supposed to be, it's just the timing of our throws and our reads. I feel like 7-on-7 has made that just perfect."
That summer run was also valuable experience for the Steers' young leaders.
Last year, Davis came up from the junior varsity to start at quarterback on homecoming night, and helped lead the team to the playoffs.
The summer work may have helped Davis mentally, even more than physically.
"He's prepared," Coach Davidson said. "I think that's a lot of the game these days, is making the decisions and the proper reads on throwing the ball."
Now Davis heads into his junior year brimming with confidence.
"I got my shot last year," Davis remembers. "Coach always says, 'Grab the bull by the horns,' and that's what I did. So I grabbed the bull and I'm still running with it."
The Steers open their season at home against Mineral Wells at 7:30 on August 31st.
Graham Steers 2012 Varsity Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs Mineral Wells, 7:30
Sept. 7 at Brownwood, 7:30
Sept. 14 at Abilene Wylie, 7:30
Sept. 21 vs Breckenridge, 7:30
Sept. 28 vs Springtown, 7:30**
Oct. 5 at Bridgeport, 7:30
Oct. 12 vs Vernon, 7:00*
Oct. 19 at Iowa Park, 7:00*
Oct. 26 BYE
Nov. 2 vs Hirschi, 7:00*
Nov. 9 at Burkburnett, 7:00*