Although Monday's first official day of football practice wasn't as warm as it could have been for the end of July, conditions were still a factor as teams continue to prep for the upcoming season.
“I think the level of intensity as much as anything,” Bishop Luers coach Kyle Lindsay said. “We actually got off to a pretty good start. The energy at the beginning of practice, the kids know that when official Day 1 comes that the season's right around the corner. The reality sets in for the players and coaches.”
Temperatures hovered around 85 degrees in the afternoon, but water breaks every 10 minutes kept Bishop Luers focused.
“We have planned breaks between each session,” Lindsay said, “we limit our drill work in practice sessions to 10, no more than 15 minutes and get water frequently throughout practice. Hydration and nutrition is something we talk about frequently, before and after practice. That doesn't change no matter the weather, but if it's even a little warmer than perhaps instead of 15-minutes, everything is 10-minute between breaks.
“That's something that every program and every coach is working kids throughout the summer. I would think in this day and age, that's a priority for every program.”
With the conditions having been much warmer and more humid during the summer, the mid-80s with low humidity on Monday felt welcome.
“We practiced in a lot hotter conditions with more humid weather,” Luers offensive lineman Joe Parnin said. “(Monday) felt good outside. We had a lot of team bonding with all the practices we've been through.
“(When it's hot), we still go as hard as we always can. We get water breaks, but it's all a mental game and through everything we've done so far and even the workouts we've done in the winter, we develop that mental strength to get through the summer conditions.”
For Bluffton, first-year head coach Brent Kunkel has set his practice times to coincide with the time of day the team will be playing games.
“We're going to go 6:30 p.m. to 9. We're looking at three weeks from now, when do we have to be at our peak? That's 6:30 to 9 o'clock. We're practicing in the evening, turn the lights on, on the turf to hopefully get our kids used to the conditions they'll be playing in for the next 12 weeks. You don't really deal with heat at 6:30 but you want to keep your guys fresh and in shape and conditioned.”
With the first official day of practice in the books, Kunkel can now shift practice from building a new culture for the Tigers to incorporating prep work for Week 1 opponent Northfield.
“Everyone said, 'Good luck today,' ” he said, “but we've been doing this stuff all summer, but now practices are numbered and they count and we're preparing for an actual opponent now. We're getting geared up for Northfield, but we want to take every day as an opportunity to get better. Does anything change? Now we can officially call it, 'practice.' That's the only thing I see different.”