It didn’t feel like the beginning of May when the Coyotes circled around a small rectangle of orange mats for its “Oklahoma Drill" Tuesday afternoon.

The old football drill is meant to test players’ blocking and tackling skills in a confined area. The first run had some decent blocking and an even better defensive play. The loud crashing of the pads sent both players and coaches into an excitable frenzy... jumping, high-fiving and helmet-slapping.

Yeah, that’s late-August type stuff alright. Yet, for the Coyotes, which are now a week deep into its spring football drills, it’s an element which coaches believe shows how far the program has come in the last year since coach Kyle Atwood took over.

“Alice kids always work hard,” Atwood said. “The kids are working hard, and they’ve retained a lot from last season.”

Atwood attributes the program’s overall crisp approach to the first week of spring drills to carry over from the Coyotes’ deep playoff run last season.

“We’re lucky that we had those extra weeks of football season,” he said. “Those extra weeks of football are showing.”

Aside from technique drills and some fundamentals, the first days of spring football also included full-team offense and defensive drills. Atwood said the program is much further along this year than it was this time in 2017.

“Obviously, we had to do a lot of learning last season, but so far this year we’re pretty far along,” he said. “We have a lot of different parts of our offense and defense already in place. We’re doing things this week that we didn’t do until the third or fourth week of last football season.”

Alice’s spring football drills will continue through May. The team is practicing after school Monday through Wednesday. They’ll also have a practice during the school’s athletic period on Thursdays.