Local prep teams making adjustments as fall practices near

Published 11:01 pm Friday, July 20, 2012

Selma High School running back Brandon Smith (22) fights for extra yardage during a spring jamboree game against St. Jude earlier this year in Orrville. Local Alabama High School Athletic Association teams can officially begin practices on Aug. 6. -- File photo

With high school football practices officially set to begin in the next couple of weeks, local coaches are making sure they’re ready for the first day.

Alabama High School Athletic Association practices will officially begin on Aug. 6, and while teams aren’t allowed to practice in full equipment for the first few days, Keith High School head football coach Harry Crum said there’s still much that can be accomplished in terms of conditioning.

“You’re limited in the things you can do because the first three days as far as the equipment you can wear — you can only go in shorts and helmets — which is good for the kids because it’s really, really hot,” Crum said. “You try to work a little bit on the conditioning side and get them in some routines with special teams, hustling down the field on punts and kickoff and hopefully, as I call it, stealing conditioning. Sometimes you get them hustling down the field and it’s the equivalent of running a 70 or 80-yard sprint.”

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Selma High School head football coach Leroy Miles added that accounting for your players and making sure those players are in shape for the late summer heat is important for that first day and week of practice.

“You want to just make sure you have all of your kids in camp, make sure everybody is accounted for. People who’ve been in your program, make sure their grades and academics are in line and make sure you can account for everybody to be in camp,” Miles said. “You also want to make sure the kids are in shape and make sure everybody starts to try to hydrate, stay away from the sodas and saturate their bodies with Gatorade, Powerade and water.”

Dallas County High School head football coach Chris Littleton, who’s entering his first fall practice as head of the Hornets’ coaching staff, said the first day is about getting players used to the way things are going to be throughout the season.

“That first day of practice is an opportunity for them to get into our procedures and how we have practice. For any of the new guys, it gives them a chance to feel the flow of how practice goes,” Littleton said. “We’re always on a period schedule, so once they get used to that, then it won’t matter if we have pads on and doing full contact, or if we’re in shorts and doing technique and things of that nature. We’ll also be doing a lot of footwork, technique in their position groups, then also that first week we’ll go ahead and start re-installation of the offense from where we left off in the spring.”