Made the trip over to Page High School this morning and the Pirates were hard at it, from 8-10:45am…..
The first thing that got my attention was how hot it was today and the fact that at Page, you are right out in that heat, with no trees, no shade and you’re lucky and you can consider yourself blessed, when that breeze comes blowing through….
The morning heat is different from the afternoon, because there’s so much humidity in the morning, as the dew is drying off and the ligering remains, of an early morning rain dry up and move away…..
Today it was shoulder pads on, for the first time and there was some popping going on, but it was all still under control. The sights and sounds of the practice, have their own special personality, as the Pirates move into the offense-defense mode and the running game gets the nod for the offense, as they go to work….
The Pirates are working in three different offense versus defense groups and there are bags, dummies and equipment all over the place, as the players get busy….Drills in groups continue and there must be between 100-120 young men on hand, for this the fourth official day, of the new season…..
There seems to be a very big difference with the shoulder pads on and everything the players are doing, takes on a much more realistic feeling….
About this time we hear a loud horn and it is time to switch groups and that means, “No Walking”, as you move from one area to another….Walking could get you a set of up-downs on the spot during practice….It is now 9:50am and time to split the Varsity and JV’s for more offense-defense……
While the teams continue their work, there is one guy standing by himself on the practice field and he is working on his punting……
Coach Gillespie lets his men know what they need to be doing, when he gives them a reminder, “Catch the football, don’t lose your focus”…..As the team runs the plays, the Coach adds more words of instuction with, “Run it again, run it again”……You also hear a lot of what we were detecting last night, when the coaches tell you again and again, “Let’s Go, Let’s Go”……….
“Let’s Go”, is the new catchphrase of this current decade……
The offense is working, with the bags lined up as defenders and now we are starting to see more pass plays…..Offense, on one end of the field and the defense, is on the other…..Offense is running plays and the defense is reacting to passes as a whole unit, with every man to the ball….
Time for a water break and helmets are on and we get a nice breeze coming through and that is a real blessing, when you can get some air, in an open area….
The next phase is a teaching session and helmets are off and the players can sit down with their helmets off, during this teaching session….It has to be a real chore for the coaches to try and learn all of these players names….From where I am sitting, up on the hill above the practice field, there are tennis shoes everywhere, around the bleachers where I am sitting….The players can not wear their cleats back into the gym, after practice is over and they will need these tennis shoes at around 11am, as they head to the clasroom and then on to the weightroom…..
Watching Page, they are a fast team and a quick team, much like Dudley and that will help to make that game very interesting, when the two teams get together at Page this season…..
As the players grab what will probably be their last water break of the morning, they can take off of their helmets and sit down…..It is not long before one of the Pirate players says, “We are ready coach, this break time should be over” and it is time to get back to work…..
Two groups of offense vs. defense are battling and it is the red on offense and the silver on defense…..Coach again says several times, “Run it again”, run it again”…….The contact is developing and a lot gets done here in this practice, in a short amount of time…..There is no wasted time…..The upper body popping, is starting to pick up and another breeze picks up and it also time for more up-downs, for the defense, as they fail to pick up their man in pass coverage….
At 10:34 the Coach tells his men to bring it in and they talk about what went on today and what to expect for the rest of the week….At 10:45 it is time to take it in and head to the classroom and after that to the weightroom……
Page has put in a good days work, but their day will not really end, until around noon…..James Summers, Drew Rogers, Tuc Phan, Orlando “Junior” Hatfield and Dylan Sykes will among the main offensive weapons for the Page Pirates in 2010……