YERMO You could assess the Silver Valley High School football team with a false start penalty for its attempts to begin the 2009 season.

However, there is no need to deduct yards, the Trojans are already fighting an uphill battle with time.
Silver Valley officially opened football camp Monday afternoon after attempts to practice last week were unsuccessful. Two days into camp, the Trojans are still waiting for everyone to arrive.

"We are slowly trying to get everybody out there," Smalls said. "If it wasn't for school, we wouldn't be able to contact everybody. We have no phone numbers."

So far more than 80 players have signed up to play for the Trojans. They are slowly filling out the team with some players still waiting to get physicals and paperwork turned into the school. Smalls estimated just three of the 25 freshman signed up to play have been at practice, but each day the number of players at practice has grown.

So far the team has run just conditioning drills, practiced for just and hour and a half each day but will add full pads in a week. Silver Valley opens the season Sept. 11 against Hamilton at home.

The Trojans already missed out on competing in any summer passing tournaments because Smalls wasn't hired on as coach until late July. Despite the slow start, Smalls said the team will be fine in the long run.

"Overall I'm happy with what I've seen." Smalls said.

It is the first training camp in three years without the presence of Andy Campbell. Campbell, who started out as an assistant coach and was the Trojans head coach the last two seasons, left the Trojans for Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita in the offseason. Smalls and Campbell have communicated through e-mail and Campbell has offered his help to Smalls.

"It's going to be a difficult task," said Smalls of replacing Campbell. "The difference is, he can hype them up a whole lot. That part ... I'm a quieter person."

Assistant coach Brian Major said there hasn't been much nostalgic talk about Campbell from the players. Some of the players were already familiar with Smalls, who previously coached track and girls basketball at Silver Valley. Several seniors said they've made the adjustment to Smalls through two days of conditioning.

"I'm pretty comfortable with him," senior Mark Yarbrough said. "I respect him already."

"It's pretty good," senior Matt Weber said. "I think everybody likes him."

Smalls has proposed some changes to Campbell's spread offense and this year's team will look drastically different than the one that took the field last season. The Trojans are looking to replace several star players who graduated including quarterback Chris Bailey, running back Mike Medeguari, lineman Joseph Pitre, wide receiver Josh Estes and lineman Kevin Mintun among others.

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mpeters@desertdispatch.com