Selma High School’s Ezekiel Ufomado, right, tries to fight past an offensive lineman during practice on Friday. The Saints closed out their first week of practices for the 2012 season. -- Robert Hudson

Saints practice in full equipment for first time this season

Published 11:31pm Friday, August 10, 2012

While Thursday marked the first day the Selma High School Saints football team could practice in full equipment, Friday was regarded as its first official day in full pads.

After the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s mandatory three-day period before teams can practice in full gear, the Saints suited up in full pads on Thursday, but weren’t able to get much work in on the field due to storms.

Leroy Miles, head football coach of Selma High School, said the Saints used that time on Thursday to go over offensive and defensive schemes that they applied on the field Friday.

“Yesterday [Thursday] we had extensive meetings, which was good for us to have those meetings to talk about what we want to do offensively and defensively with the team,” Miles said. “So the kids kind of got a concept today when we came out earlier in practice. We had to make some adjustments to quarterbacks getting used to the cadence and that kind of thing, but we’re going to work into it. It’s going to take some time.”

The Saints also used Friday to work on individual positions, get in some contact and install special teams, but coaches made sure to keep in mind the players’ safety during all of that work.

“We’re just trying to help the kids get through it. It’s hot, it’s their first day in pads and they’re carrying that extra 40 to 50 pounds on them, so we’ve got to watch them, make sure everybody’s hydrated and safe,” Miles said. “Usually, the first day in pads is kind of a drag because it’s their first day that they put on that equipment. We’ve just got to work through it.”

Miles added the Saints were also working on some audibles and scenarios where the quarterback goes to the line of scrimmage with multiple plays in order to gain an advantage.

“We’re trying to do some things that I’ve learned while coaching the [North-South] all-star game and we’re trying to implement here just with some cadence and things like that and calling two plays at the same time, and giving the kid the option,” Miles said. “I learned that the person with the pencil last is the person that wins. If me and you are doing X’s and O’s and I put my O’s down and you put your X’s down, you can stop my play. But if I’m the last person with the pencil, I’m going to win. So that’s what we’re trying to do now is to give our quarterback the pencil and let him have the opportunity to put us in some good situations.”

One thing Miles said he’s been impressed with is the players’ dedication to attending practices as well as their willingness to make up any summer workouts they’ve missed.

“I think we’re looking good. All the kids are showing up — we’ve probably got 95 percent of the kids showing up for practice. We’ve still got a few of them that haven’t had physicals that have got to have those three days in helmets and shorts,” Miles said. “For the most part, I’m pleased with attendance. We’ve got some kids that have to come in at six in the morning to do makeup work for missed workouts. This morning, I had about 20 kids here and I was very impressed. They showed up, got their work in and left. And it’s no grudge type work. They come in, get their workout in the weight room, come out and get their conditioning done and I let them go. It’s nothing where you’re trying to dog a kid or anything like that, it’s just to catch up on the workouts because they’ve got to be made up before they play in a game.”

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