Some look forward to it; some dread it. Either way, the first week of drills are in the books for Mansfield ISD football teams. With most schools now less than two weeks away from kicking off the season, the first week of camp is always an important trendsetter for coaches.
“What you try to avoid is having to spend too much time conditioning,” Summit coach Travis Pride said. “If they aren’t in good enough shape, you have to move slower because they can’t really handle it. Every coach wants to be going full-tilt from day one.”
Pride was pleased with how his Jaguars arrived for the first day of practice and felt they were able to focus on matters other than conditioning. The same was true for Chris Melson and his Legacy squad.
“They showed up in really good condition and physically fit,” Melson said. “There was a lot of good retention from the spring – a lot of good carryover. We were able to install everything we wanted, so we’re right on schedule and feel really good about the first week.”
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Over at Mansfield, coach Jeff Hulme put his Tigers through a physical fitness test on the first day – the first time he’s done that. He reported that all passed with flying colors
“We came back in shape, which means we can focus on football and not worry about our breathing and getting in shape,” he said.
The weather is always a consideration in Texas in August, and though different schools take different approaches to training and practices, they all factor in the temperature.
“We work out in the evenings,” Melson said. “It’s been great; it’s been hot and humid. A breeze can cool it down. It’s kind of like a football game. We think the weather has been great and hopefully it got us ready to play because that’s the time of night that we play.”
Mansfield hit the practice fields in early morning over the first week, but will have to change its schedule up this week with coaches facing teacher in-service. This week will also take on more a regular-season feel as far as routine goes.
“It’s not the same where we have six straight days of [practice] because now we have an opponent on Friday,” Hulme said, noting that the Tigers have a scrimmage on Friday. “So it’s like a game week, and that’s fun for the kids.”
Due to UIL restrictions, the players only had two days in full pads last week, and most teams capped the first week with an intrasquad scrimmage. Melson pointed out that the limited contact time can be hard on coaches working with inexperienced teams and for trying to decide on battles for open positions.
“The catch-22 is that if you go too physical, too long, you get injuries and your depth is gone,” he said. “So it’s just kind of a tight-wire you walk during two-a-days.”