With the increased summer practice time, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s organized training activities with other teams that high school football teams are permitted to do now, the official start of preseason practice might not feel like the unofficial holiday it used to be to some fans in the state of Alabama.
But Pisgah head coach Luke Pruitt said the players and coaches do sense a change when official preseason practice begins.
“It’s different than the summer. You’re working in the summer, there’s that feel that (the season) is still a ways off. But when practice starts, and know you’ll be in full pads by the end of the week, you realize it’s almost here, and it’s exciting to get to that point.”
Helmets are the only football equipment players can wear on the first two days of fall practice before shells (helmets and shoulder pads) are permitted on Days 3 and 4. Teams can practice in full pads on Day 5.
New Scottsboro head coach Cris Bell said his team is excited to get preseason practice under way.
“The kids are ready to get out on the field, do the acclimation period and finally put on the pads,” said Bell, whose team plans to end their opening week with an intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday. “We want to see is a great deal of energy and execution. We’ll introduce some new stuff, (but) most of what we need in we’ve already put in, so the focus is on execution.”
Third-year Section head coach Chris Hammon said the Lions will carry over their work in the summer into the start of official preseason practice.
“We changed up some things in the spring and we worked that this summer and we’ll keep doing a lot of the things we did this summer (during preseason practice), just getting reps and making sure we’re getting better,” Hammon said. “With COVID affecting things last year and it being my first year (at Section) two years ago, this is the furthest along we’ve been at the start (of preseason practice) since I’ve been here.”
First-year Woodville head coach Matt Sanders said his new team will use the first week to refine the work it did in the summer on its new schemes and turn its attention to its season opener at Ider that’s just three weeks away.
“We’ve got to continue to build off the summer and start focusing on Ider,” Sanders said. “Really this summer has been about us, doing what we need to do to get better and been killing it in the weight room. We’ve installed things on offense and defense, and we’re going to look at what we need to do to tweak it for Ider and go from there.”
Meanwhile, North Jackson and North Sand Mountain will start their second week of practice on Monday after both elected to use a new AHSAA Rule that allows teams that skip spring practice to start fall practice a week earlier.
With school not in session yet and teacher in-service days not beginning until next week, North Jackson has spent its opening week with full days of practice, meetings and film study during its opening week.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to really have a fall camp type thing and it’s really gone well,” said North Jackson head coach Joe Hollis said on Thursday. “(The players) are chomping at the bit to get in full pads (on Friday).”