The week of July 4th always marks the halfway point for high school football team’s summer workout program.
The players and coaches get a “dead” week to rest and recuperate while also gearing up for the second half of summer and the push toward fall practice.
Each of the three local schools (Calhoun, Gordon Central, Sonoravill) have been hitting the weight room hard so far this summer as well as taking part in various passing leagues and camps.
Here’s a report on what each team has accomplished up to this point in the summer as well as what they’ve got planned for the rest of July:
Hal Lamb says the Jackets’ summer program is one of the most important times of the year for his football team.
This summer is no different. Calhoun’s players have been reporting two days a week in June for strength and conditioning work.
Lamb said he’s pleased so far with how his players have handled the summer program.
“It’s been real good,” said Lamb. “Our participation has been very good this summer just like it is always. Our kids understand how important summer is.
“We’re right where we need to be in my opinion. I think the kids are doing a good job this summer so far.”
Lamb said the biggest goal every summer is to get the players physically ready for what they will experience as fall practice starts and, eventually, the season.
“I think gradually, slowly getting them in shape is our focus,” said Lamb. “We want to get them bigger, stronger and faster the best way we can. The main emphasis in June is to get them in some kind of physical conditioning shape.”
Along with the summer workouts, close to 30 Calhoun players went to Mercer June 16-19 for quarterback, receiver, offensive line camp.
Lamb said camps and workouts during the summer help to develop some team unity and chemistry which is extremely important to a team’s success.
“It’s really important,” said Lamb.
“I think chemistry is the most important ingredient to having a good football team. Summer is also used for that. I hope the camps we are going to in the next few weeks and the Mercer Camp will help us develop some chemistry.”
The Jackets will begin acclimation days for fall practice in late July before starting full-padded practices in the first few days of August.
They have a busy next few weeks before that, however, as they will take over 40 to FCA Camp in Carrollton this coming Monday through Wednesday. They will then host a two-day passing camp on July 16-17 before heading back to Carrollton July 22-24 for team camp.
The Jackets will be looking for their 13th straight region title this coming fall as well as their sixth straight trip to the Georgia Dome for the Class AA State Championship Game.
They will host Rome for a scrimmage on Aug. 16 before opening the regular season on Aug. 30 at Ridgeland.
David Humphreys took over as Gordon Central head coach in March and in the months since has been focused on developing consistency and familiarity in the program.
His first summer as Warriors head coach has been no different in focus up to this point in early July. Humphreys said he has been happy with how his team has responded to the summer program.
“(Our summer program) has been really good so far,” said Humphreys. “We’ve had over 40 on average lifting three days a week, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. We’ve also had three passing league days also.
“The kids have definitely worked hard, and I think it’s been a very productive summer.”
The main emphasis for the Warriors program in June was inside the weight room, but Humphreys said that will shift to a little more conditioning in the next few weeks.
“We’ve been really focusing on strength training early in summer,” said Humphreys. “The last week and a half we’ve amped up the condition part, but we’ve mainly been working on getting them as strong as we possibly can.”
Humphrey’s coaching staff got a boost in the strength and conditioning deparment recently when Scott Chandler was hired as boys basketball coach, but also as the strength and conditioning coach for other sports. He will take over the football team’s summer program after the dead week on Monday.
“Adding coach Chandler as strength coach is huge for us,” said Humphreys. “Moving into July, we’ll continue doing strength, but we’ll increase the amount of conditioning we’re doing.”
A big part of high school’s summer programs are not just getting physically better, but also developing mentally as a team and trying to get some team unity started heading toward the season.
“I think that’s huge,” said Humphreys. “A big thing summer does is relates to teammates the commitment level of players. We always talk about the fact that once the season starts, nobody is going to be put on the field that doesn’t deserve to be there. You become deserving by being at workouts and doing what you’re supposed to during the summer.
“It’s extremely important for the players to see each other in the summer program especially with how things have been changing so much here at Gordon Central over the last few month. For us, it’s been a process of getting to know each other better.”
Starting in the next few weeks, Humphreys said the workouts would go from three to four days a week as the Warriors prepare for fall practice and the Iron Warrior contest starting in late July.
The Warriors will be on the playing field competitively for the first time on Aug. 16 when they host Cass for a scrimmage. They will then open the regular season at Coosa on Aug. 30.
The Phoenix goal coming into the summer was simply to get better and aim toward a more successful fall than last season.
Sonoraville and coach Roger Gentry are coming off a 1-9 season in 2012, but got some positive momentum during spring practice. Gentry said that momentum has carried into summer.
“The summer has gone real well so far,” said Gentry. “We’ve had great attendance in June where we’ve worked out three times a week. We’ve gotten our new coaches acquainted with the kids and have installed a few things offensively and defensively so it’s been a pretty successful summer so far.”
One of those new coaches is Jim Kremer, who was hired as Sonoraville’s defensive coordinator in June. He also took over the summer workout program in the weight room.
Gentry said the first month of the summer program is always tough for different reasons, but it’s important in order to get ready for July.
“Sometimes June is a coach’s worst nightmare because you have kids split up with different sports and going on vacation,” said Gentry. “We just try to get all that out of the way in June so once July starts they’re ready to be there and get ready for the practice.”
The Phoenix will start acclimation days in late July before full-padded practices in early August.
Sonoraville will scrimmage at Armuchee on Aug. 16 and then open up the regular season at Pickens on Aug. 30.