Concordia focusing on chemistry as fall practices approach

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Concordia defenders make a tackle during the team’s spring game in April. Concordia is preparing to open fall training camp during the first week of August, as coaches will focus on building chemistry will old and new players.

The Concordia College Hornets are preparing for the start of fall practices and getting its newest additions accustomed to the program.

Concordia head football coach Shepherd Skanes and his staff were in meetings on Wednesday finalizing incoming recruits and making sure each was ready for the start off fall training camp and orientation during the first week of August.

“We’re going to really start Aug. 4, but basically it’ll be Aug. 6 when we hit the field,” Skanes said. “We’ll be going over player positions, groups, meetings, all the rules and regulations, as well as policies and procedures. We’re orientating them and getting them ready to hit the field.”

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Skanes said camp is not just about getting the new players physically and mentally ready for the upcoming season, it’s about building chemistry between the athletes and the staff.

“You see what they look like on film, but that’s high school. Senior year, everybody was a superstar,” Skanes said, “but when you come to college it all starts over again. Everybody out on that field can play, and everybody is much faster than the next person. Now you’ve got to start meshing the chemistry together.”

Skanes added there’s a lot of time spent building that chemistry with the players and finding out how each fits into the team’s overall scheme.

“The toughest thing that I see is having 15-20 people per group and trying to get to know each and every one of the student-athletes by name and getting to know them,” Skanes said. “At that present time, you spend more time with them than you do at home, so you’re with them 24/7 almost to get to know them and for them to get to know you. To me it’s more than just camp. You’ve got to start building the chemistry when you come into camp, and chemistry isn’t just about the X’s and the O’s, it’s about the individual character of the student-athlete, where they fit in your scheme and what you’re trying to get done.”

And while building chemistry and acclimating the newer players is important, Skanes emphasized he and his staff will still be paying close attention to the skills that each athlete displays.

“Most of the time, when you first get to camp, one of the first things you want to work on is the footwork,” Skanes said. “I don’t care where they’re at, starts and stance start everything. I want to see how their stance is, I want to see the start out of their stance, I want to see if they can run. I’m looking at their athletic abilities right off the bat.”