08/02/07 — Conditioning an emphasis for area teams

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Conditioning an emphasis for area teams

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on August 2, 2007 1:48 PM

Just three days into the new football season, area coaches are already making strides getting their teams prepared for the upcoming season.

The early-season practices are focused on conditioning and fundamentals until the players strap on the pads later this week.

Charles B. Aycock head coach Randy Pinkowski couldn't be happier with his team's offseason work ethic. Nearly 40 players reported in shape on Tuesday and realize the importance of conditioning to aid the team's success.

"I'm glad we're back with it," said Pinkowski. "The kids seem to be in good shape. They've worked hard over the summer so we really aren't feeling the pressure that some teams feel right now."

A level of expectation was been built within the C.B. Aycock program with players knowing, if they don't show up to practice ready to go then they won't be playing.

"They've been trained to not be caught off guard," said Pinkowski. "The kids that come and are in shape are the ones who will play. The kids that don't work hard aren't going to factor into your game plan once the season starts."

So far, the Golden Falcons have been working on basic technique on both sides of the ball. A key element of this is proper stance and first step for a particular assignment.

"All the little things become so important once you strap the pads on," said Pinkowski. "If that first step is wrong, you're behind. I like how much of the offense and defense they have mastered so far.

"Things are going well right now."

The late-summer heat and humidity can cause players to struggle, especially those who haven't worked out in the offseason. Like Pinkowski, fifth-year Eastern Wayne head coach Jeff Price is emphasizing conditioning.

But rising temperatures and heat indexes play a role in monitoring how a player handles the conditioning drills.

"We give the players frequent breaks and keep them hydrated," said Price.

Even with the unfavorable conditions, Price hasn't had to do too much yelling to keep his players focused. His small senior class is already showing strong leadership qualities.

"The seniors are handling everything well and they're taking charge," said Price, whose team took a big hit from graduating seniors. "They're being really good leaders and get practice going. Us coaches are really proud of them for stepping up like that."

Despite losing the large senior class, Price is confident his team's depth won't be an issue.

"We're OK at certain positions," said Price. "It'll work its way out."

Depth will be helped in the coming days as more and more players show up for practice. The early practice schedule has left some players missing in action this first week as they attend to vacations, summer jobs and wrapping up summer sports. Price expects those holes to be filled over the next couple of weeks.

Like all coaches though, Price is keeping his fingers crossed that his squad remains injury free otherwise that depth could take a serious hit.

"You just always pray that everyone stays healthy for the whole year," said Price.

First-year Rosewood head coach Robert Britt is busy installing a new offense for his players -- the wing-T. The deception-oriented offense can be utilized with multiple formations.

"You try to find what formation that best puts the opposing defense in good blocking angles for us to run the ball," said Britt. "Also, because you have three running backs in the offense, you can easily get into a spread formation."

The offense isn't a whole lot different from was the Eagle players were running last season, which has enabled them to grasp it quickly.

As with every other team, Britt has also been focusing on the conditioning of his squad. During the offseason, every player was required to put in 14 workouts in the weight room and running.

"For the most part, the kids got 14 or more done," said Britt. "We're not bad conditioning wise, considering we've just had two practices. We've got a long ways to go though, but I'm pleased right now."

The endurance of his players will be vital to the Eagles' success this season, especially since four or five of his nearly 40 players may be pushed into duty on both sides of the ball.

"We're going to play the guys that we feel give us the best chance to win on both sides of the ball," said Britt.