Stopped by the practices of a couple of UNC-grads this morning, with Chris Causey at Western Guilford and Fritz Hessenthaler at Southeast Guilford…..Chris was a linebacker/DB at North Carolina and Coach Fritz was an offensive linemen/long snapper…..
It was picture day at Western Guilford, where they usually start up at 8am, but on this morning, the start time was pushed back to after 9am….
I picked out a spot under a tree, near the Guilford Primary School and watched as the players began slowly walking toward the practice field, carrying helmets, at 8:45….There was a flock of 30 or more geese on the baseball field, having their morning meal…..
A few Western players start kicking at 8:53, as more players begin to head down to the field….I feel a 9am start coming, but I may be wrong…Some kids are in black jerseys and some in white…..
At 8:58, some are kicking and some players are also passing footballs in a warmup mode…Somebody’s out there hitting golf balls on the baseball field….Most helmets are on at 9am and players start doing light drills on the bags….They are side-hopping in and out of the bags/shields…..Also running sideways, in an out of the bags and a few players are running some pass patterns, around the cones….A golf cart has come to the field with water and a group of players has started working up by a tree, but not at my tree and I am not up a tree, I am in my car….They are setting up a tent, with the water jugs underneath the tent….The geese have come walking by my car and they are on their way up the hill, headed toward Stagecoach Trail…
Whistle Blows at 9:16am and stretching begins in lines….Scattered lines, not a tight formation…..Long-term streching this is…..There are around 60-70 Western Guilford players here for the practice….
Walk and stretch…..At 9:30 they are still stretching, the whistle blows and now it is time for side-stretching…..9:35 it is kareoke and some fast sideways sliding….Pace picks up and they begin a shuffle-sideways slide….Now it is knees up hopping….Then leg-kick hopping….These guys ought to be loose, now it’s straight ahead running….Time to squat on the ground and stretch…..All kinds of stretching….Laying on the ground stretching….Now the exercises, with a few brief jacks….
Time for the WG team huddle….Then the team split up into groups and began their serious drills…..There are 3-4 groups working on various details and one group is working on nothing but kicking, with the entire extra-point kick team, working on the kick and it’s timing, with snap count, placement, hold and then the kick…..
Western should be above average this season, with linemen like the big Stadnik brothers and Tyler Stutts, runningbacks Hersell Smith and Eric Davidson and veteran QB Josh Thompson…..
The scene at Southeast Guilford, is unlike that of any other school in Guilford County…..There is construction going on everywhere at SEG….
Totally new buildings are under construction, there are buildings being renovated, there are new parking lots, new roads; there is equipment everywhere and this school is getting a major overhaul…..
Another new look is the fact that the Falcon Band is practicing on the football practice field…..The band is going through drills, just like a football team would do, with their water bottles and other necessities on hand and it sounded like the had an automated drill sergeant leading their workouts, with the 10, then 5-4-3-2-1 countdown and you are late from your water break, get back on the field now, you are late….
The sergeant said, “Get to your spots, Let’s Go”……
The football team was practicing down in the bottom and I mean, real low bottom…..Not too far from an old irrigation lake and boy, it was humid down on the “Falcon Practice Field”…….Mark White has been taking care of all the mowing at Southeast, so the fields are in very good shape, and Shawn Newton has made sure that excess weeds will not be allowed, on the SEG campus…
Down in the bottom, SEG has offense on one end and defense on the other….The “O” vs. “D” work goes on for a while and then the players grab a water break….We are at about the 10:15 time frame…..The players receive a 10-minute break and then it is back to work….
The players go into groups and begin on drills that stress technique and timing….The line works on their stance and taking the right steps off the ball on the snap count…..The line practices their steps for pass blocking….Then the line works on coming off the ball and applying kick-out blocks on the practice dummies or bags…..”Down-Set”….
It is time to drive that dummy and use your hips….”Drive the bags, Use you Hips”….Coach Fritz is a line specialist and he let his men know when they have done a good job and when they are using their feet properly…..Coach Fritz says, “Maintain the block”….”We’ve got to get our feet moving more”….”You’ve got to get better boys, you’ve got to get better”….”Way to go Big Brown”….”There you go, right there, Baker”….”There you go Mabe”…..
Coach Fritz’s 12 year-old daughter is an outstanding softball player and they just recently returned from the AAU National Championships, down in Florida, so you know the Coach is doing a good job, at home too…..
While the line is going at it down in the salt mine, there are four JV quarterbacks working on drop and pass, drop and pitch and drop and pitch or toss handoff…..
Other groups are working on offense versus defense with the focus on the defensive pass coverage with Coach Lynn Coble….There is a defensive group that is popping the sled and keying on timing, so you can pop on the snap count and react quickly….Linebackers and DB’s for the JV’s are getting used to picking up reads and where they need to be on the field, in a given situation…
Kickers and the holder have moved up to the game field and they are working on extra-points and field goals…..The main focus is the hold and the kick…..
SEG has all-around good speed and quickness and this should be a year where they look to make the playoffs…..After that, the rest is in the nest, “The Falcons’ Nest”, at Southeast Guilford High School……
That is your look for Friday and for Day Five at the high school training camps…………..