This spring is different.

That’s the message coming from several Odessa High football players during the Bronchos’ first spring practice Tuesday morning at Coleman Field.

Odessa High put on the pads before daylight broke and for the first time in more than five months — since the Bronchos’ 31-28 loss against Midland High to end its 2017 regular season to be exact.

Spring practice nearly picks up from that spot, as Odessa High has been trying to get faster and stronger thereafter.

Tuesday’s practice, the first of 18 allowed by the UIL, including the Red and White game scheduled for May 10 at Ratliff Stadium, was the Bronchos opening chance in 2018 to build chemistry on the gridiron.

“Everybody’s full of excitement. They’ll be a little bit sore tomorrow so we’ll see how we come out in practice tomorrow,” Odessa High head coach Danny Servance said. “I think with experience coming back, they’re a little bit more sure of their assignments and what our expectations are.”

Since Servance became the Bronchos’ head coach in January 2016, the spring has been a good measure to see where his team stands in its journey to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

That first spring was a glimpse into what the Bronchos could be capable of in the future. Last year, Odessa High tried to tie up as many loose ends as possible.

This spring, the Bronchos will try to get rid of any lingering lack of self-assurance as they make a push to raise everyone’s confidence.

“First and foremost, being back out here is fun,” said Odessa High wide receiver Tyrone Caufield, who will be a senior this fall. “It’s nice to see everyone smiling … most of all, we want everybody to feel comfortable out here because that’s when you’re going to go the hardest, that’s when you’re going to go the fullest, when you’re comfortable out here.

“Getting that brotherhood together, that chemistry, that’s what it’s really about.”

As the sun rose over Odessa High, the Bronchos only focused on themselves. They don’t have a regular-season game until Aug. 30, when they travel to face Lubbock Monterey.

Odessa High has plenty of time over the next three weeks to advance, although there’s not one thing in particular Servance is hoping to see improve.

“I think its overall improvement as a football team,” Servance said, adding staying healthy to his main goals for the spring. “But I think along with that, if we do have overall improvement as a football team, that’s going to mean that a lot of individual players have gotten better.”

The 2018 spring schedule is also a big evaluation period for the Bronchos’ coaching staff. The team hopes to add depth in droves by late August with a few gaps to address. A few Odessa High players started both ways in 2017 and that possibility still exists for this fall.

“We’ve got holes to fill, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” Servance said. “So we get a chance to look at younger kids and kids who weren’t in starting roles last year and to see if they’re going to fill some of those positions that were left void due to graduation.

“We just want to turn the corner as far as seeing our guys know the system, execute without any type of miscues or anything like that.”

By participating in spring football, Odessa High can’t start fall practice until August 13 and will only have one scrimmage. That’s a small price to pay for what the Bronchos can gain with these workouts.

Odessa High running back Josh Lara said he was happy to get back on the field for his final first day of spring practice before his third year of varsity action.

“You got to get your basics down, you got to get it going, get the blood pumping, get your body used to it … football’s been there since I was 3. It’s basically my life,” Lara said. “I’m hoping to show that the coaches can count on me again, show that I’m that workhorse.”

With the Bronchos’ confidence growing, this spring could be the springboard Odessa High has been waiting for.

{{tncms-inline account=”EricBlumOA” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Rise and shine. Odessa High already hard at work at its first spring practice. <a href=""></a></p>— Eric Blum (@EricBlumOA) <a href="">April 17, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”986208197907279872″ type=”twitter”}}