Football players cope with the heat
Coping with the heat and working on fundamentals rated priorityin the first week of preseason practice for public schools.Meanwhile, Mississippi Private School Association teams plungeddeeper into practice, donning full equipment last week astemperatures surpassed the 100-degree mark.
At Tuscaloosa, Ala., Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban orderedhis Alabama players and coaches to omit the word, Heat, from theirvocabulary. Saban said the heat was just an excuse for a poorpractice or a poor performance.
Brookhaven: Coach Tucker Peavey said, “We havehandled things pretty well. We give the players several breaksduring practice. We also keep some cold towels.
The Water Cow is a popular gathering place for the Panthers. Itfeatures three large ice chests on wheels, with coiled tubing whichruns through each chest. It keeps the water ice cold.
“The temperatures have really jumped up here this week. I thinkour offseason conditioning program has been a key,” said Peavey.”You can definitely tell the difference in those guys who were realconsistent in the workouts.”
Peavey said the coaching staff introduced the specialty teamsthis week and got the players familiar with kickoffs, punts andreturns. Dennis Harris and Chris Lowman are working as kickers. BudBritt is the top candidate as a punter.
The Panthers scrimmaged Saturday morning, their first practicein pads. They ran 96 plays. The first group 46 plays.
“I thought we did pretty well, considering it was the first dayout in pads,” said Peavey. “We had some center-quarterback exchangeproblems but we worked it out.”
Peavey said he was pleased some of the receivers who caught theball well. “They made some good catches.”
He said 96 players participated in practice the first week,including 45 freshmen.
Bogue Chitto: Coach Gareth Sartin, “Practicehas been going well. We have been dealing with the heat as well aswe can.
“We’ve gotten better since Monday and that’s what we are tryingto do,” he added.
The Bobcats have worked on special teams and the passinggame.
“We lost our top two receivers from last year (Mario Addison andKeyouna Perkins Perkins),” said Sartin. “We have been trying a lotof different receivers.
Brookhaven Academy: Coach Bo Milton saidpractice has gone well, despite the heat. “It’s been pretty good.We are still trying to figure out who is doing what and geteverybody in the right spot.
The Cougars were in full pads Wednesday for the first time.
“It was hot out there but our players are coping with the heat,”said Milton. “We give them a break every 10 to 15 minutes. We makesure they get plenty of water.”
Milton’s Cougars scrimmaged Friday in Hattiesburg, facingBowling Green (La.) and Presbyterian Christian School.
“I thought our scrimmage went really well,” said Milton. “We gotto see what the kids could do and couldn’t do. Now we can makeadjustments.”
Milton’s Cougars travel to Tri-County Academy at Flora Thursdayfor a jamboree.
“We knew our assignments but we had a few busted plays,” Miltonadded. “Overall, I was pleased. We didn’t get anybody hurt.”
Lawrence County: Coach Mike Davis said histeam’s Monday practice was greeted by a brief, heavy rain. “It wasa frog-strangler but it didn’t last long.
“Then that sun popped out and it felt like we were in a sauna,”said Davis. He said the demanding summer workouts prepared his teamfor the August heatwave.
“We avoid the H (hot) word and call it warm,” said Davis. “Ourkids handled it (heat) well. They worked very hard during thesummer.
“We keep a close eye on the kids and give them plenty of water,”added Davis. “We might put them in shoulder pads at the end ofpractice.”
Davis said there are 50 players practicing this week. “We areworking on basic offense and basic defense.”
Enterprise: “We have been working onconditioning, base defense and base offense,” said Coach Roe Burns.There are 45 players preparing for the 2007 campaign which kicksoff with a Thursday night, Aug. 30, game at West Lincoln.
Asked about the heatwave, Burns said, “It has been very hot. Wegive the players four and five water breaks.”
Enterprise conducted its Picture Day Friday. Several players andcoaches attended the wedding ceremony of assistant coach SethLofton and his bride, Kaylin Burke, that night.
Wesson: “The kids are doing well,” said Wessonhead football coach Tommy Clopton. “We have a lot of people toreplace from last year. The guys are getting a crash course. We areadding a few things here and there.”
According to Clopton, junior John Craft is the leader atquarterback. He replaces all-star signal-caller Micah Davis whosigned with Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Clopton and the Cobras are dealing with the heat. “We are takinga water break every 10-15 minutes. We’re trying to rest our guys inthe shade. We even provide ice packs and ice towels to put on thenecks to cool them down.”
Overall, Clopton said the first week of practice went well. “Weare still trying to learn. We throw the book at them early on. Weuse our days in shorts to do a lot of teaching andconditioning”
Clopton has 42 players out for preseason football.
To help keep the players cool during the hot practices, Cloptonhas set up a small children’s swimming pool filled with ice andwater. They use it to wet down the towels and cool the players
Loyd Star: Coach Ryan Ross said he was pleasedwith his new team’s first week of practice. “We fought through theheat and practiced every day. We gave them plenty of water breaksand kept the kids monitored.
“We will hit it hard again this week,” Ross added. “We don’thave a lot of starters back on defense so we have been working withreads and pursuit. Some of the kids did real well. They have a goodattitude. Our kids are accepting the challenge.”
The Hornets debut Aug. 31, hosting J.J. McClain ofLexington.