Dublin has come a long way, head coach Bob Cervetto says, but there's still a long way to go.

A week into his second preseason camp as head coach in Dublin, Cervetto says the difference from last year is like night and day.

"We're in a lot better shape this year," says Cervetto, whose club was 1-9 in 2011 after going winless in 2010 before he was hired. "The kids know our expectations and the coaching staff has it all together. That right there puts us way ahead of where we were last year. When all the coaches are on the same page, the kids are the beneficiaries of that.

"It's a lot of fun this year," he continued. "I mean, it was fun last year, but it's different now."

The Lions held their annual intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning at Dublin Memorial Stadium.

"We had a good scrimmage, the kids hustled around and did a good job. It was a good first day to really mix it up."

Cervetto cited Steve Vargas for his play at wide receiver and said linebackers Hayden Jurado and Travis Blazi paced the defense.

"Our secondary also played a lot better than we did anytime last year," he said. "They flow to the ball so much better and I think that's because they are understanding what we need to get done back there."

Dublin has been without starting quarterback Clay Francis, who has not been cleared for practice since suffering soreness in a car accident which he was not at fault for.

"Clay's going to be fine, I can't wait to get him out there," Cervetto said. "In the meantime we've had three guys take snaps at quarterback and they've all done a good job. We've been able to make progress with our offense with those guys in there."

Dirk DeVries, Brady Holleman Blazi and all took snaps Saturday and will handle quarterback duties Friday night when the Lions host 3A Venus in their first opponent scrimmage.

"Venus is going to show us some things we need to see," Cervetto said. "Coach (Buddy) Hardin is a disciple of a wing-T coach who came to Texas years ago from California. That's what he's going to run at us, and that's good because we'll see that from Hico and we'll see it in district from Comanche.

"They'll run odd fronts at us on defense with a three-man front and a five-man front, and we'll see those again so it'll give us a good look."

Venus, which shares District 7-3A with Stephenville and Glen Rose, went 5-5 last season. The scrimmage starts with sub-varsity play at 6:30 p.m., followed by varsity action at 7:30 p.m., all at Dublin Memorial Stadium.

"We won't do a lot different this week just because it ends with a scrimmage," Cervetto said. "I think we need to stay steady with what we're doing and try to improve a little more every day we go out and get more consistent with what we do."

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