Local teams begin preparations for 2011 football season
CROWLEY – With summer workouts and 7-on-7 pass drills behind them, prep football teams across the state began their first phase of the 2011 football season on Monday with the opening day of August camp.
Across the parish, players as well as coaches couldn’t be happier.
“When you get down to it, you’ve done all your summer workouts and August starts creeping around, you’re ready to bring it all together and see where it goes from there,” said Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook, who greeted 105 hopefuls to camp. “We’re excited about starting. We just wrapped up the first day of practices and there were no surprises. Everyone was here and healthy and ready to go.”
The official first day of practice really begins on Monday, Aug. 8, but teams have this optional week to get in conditioning work. However, they are limited to workouts in shorts and helmets the entire week.
“Most everybody uses this time because it gives you a week in shorts where you can teach and install all your stuff,” said Cook. “You can get your kicking game lined up and do some things where as when you put the pads on, you’re more prepared to be ready to go.
“You’re always going to be teaching, but you can get a lot of teaching out of the way while you’re in shorts the first week.”
Beginning next Monday, teams will begin workouts in helmets and shoulder pads before going to full pads on Aug. 11.
“It’s always good to get that first day out of the way,” said Cook. “You know, make sure everybody has a helmet on their head, a jersey on their back...get all those things out of the way while your still in shorts. That way when you do put the pads on, all the little things are taken care of.”
Notre Dame will get basically three weeks of practice in before the Pios get their first test of the season when they engage in their annual scrimmage at St. Thomas More in Lafayette on Aug. 18.
The Pios will then travel back to Lafayette to take on St. Martinville in the second game of the Lafayette Kiwanis Jamboree on Friday, Aug. 26 at UL-Lafayette’s Cajun Field.
CROWLEY – Tommy Tate’s Crowley High Fighting Gents kicked off their first day of August camp Monday morning and all went according to script.
“It is the first day and it kind of sets the tone for the whole August camp,” said Tate. “You spend a lot of time going over practice organization and trying to create at tempo for the kids to practice in.
“But we had a good first practice. I thought the kids showed a lot of enthusiasm and it was exciting to see them out there working again.”
The Gents, as well as most teams, began camp with work on their special teams as well as implementing their offensive and defensive schemes.
“We do a lot of installation, both offensively and defensively (in the first week) ,” said Tate. “We’re in shorts and t-shirts so there’s no physical play. But again, you try to create tempo in the practice and you do try to install your special teams. You try to get all that taken care of this time of camp.”
The Gents will host Beau Chene in a scrimmage on Aug. 19 before taking on Kaplan in the Acadia/Vermilion Jamboree on Aug. 25.
IOTA – The Neal Lege era officially began in Iota Monday.
Leger, who returns to Iota after a six-year stint at Acadiana High School , said opening day is a much-needed change of pace.
“You know, we had a real good summer in the weight room,” said Lege. “The kids really showed up, responded and did well. But now, you get back to more football stuff.
“I was a little disappointed today because we had a couple of guys that we were looking at as starters, or guys who would get significant playing time, not show up.
“You know, when you start, you want everyone to be as excited as you are. Before you know it, your scrimmage will be here then the jamboree and then the season has started. You don’t want to have to backtrack because of some guy who forgot they had practice or didn’t have a ride or this, that or the other.”
For Iota, as well as all prep teams, the first week of practice is one of the most important times of the season despite the limitations.
“This is a good teaching week,” said Lege. “You can get your basics out of the way, get your kicking game stuff out of the way, and get some conditioning for those who didn’t work as hard over the summer as they should have. It just gives you an opportunity for those guys to catch up and get started.”
Lege also likes the first week of practice because it gives his team a chance to get acclimated to the game as well as the weather.
“It’s kind of a phase thing,” said Lege. “You go out with your helmet, then you go out with your shoulder pads and then you go out in full pads. It’s a progression so you want their conditioning to keep up with what you’re doing.
“And it’s hot, it’s warm, it’s muggy. Even though you’re going in the morning, it’s still hot. You want your kids to get acclimated to that stuff.
“But today was a good day of practice. It was a good start to the season.”
Iota will take part in a three-way scrimmage on Aug. 19 in Eunice before playing in the Acadia/Vermilion Jamboree on Thursday, Aug. 25 in Crowley where the Bulldogs will play North Vermilion at 6 p.m.