It’s called the dog days of summer but for area high school football coaches, the time from the end of summer workouts until the start of fall drills goes about as fast as grass growing on their fields.
“I’m tired of lifting and running. It’s hot outside and that is starting to get old. I’m ready to get some football started,” said El Reno head coach Chuck Atchison.
El Reno and the rest of the football-playing schools in Oklahoma have been limited to conditioning drills only since the middle of July. On Monday morning, programs can begin fall two-a-day workouts in preparation for the 2019 season.
Atchison says the Indians will be on the practice field at 8 a.m.
“These days are the part of summer I hate, waiting to get the pads on and start getting in shape and ready for Friday night and all the other stuff,” said Atchison.
El Reno should be in better shape than most schools in both the X’s and O’s as well as conditioning. Atchison held his four-day team camp the week after the Oklahoma Secondary School Activity Association’s Summertime Dead Period.
“It worked out better this year and I hope we can retain some of the things we did. The team camp allowed us to look at some things and kids in certain spots. So going into two-a-days, we have an idea of what kids will be at what spots and we don’t have to waste reps in positions they will not be playing at,” said Atchison.
Programs will still be limited in what they can do since the OSSAA mandates that every player go through four days of limited workouts to get accommodated with the hotter weather of August. Limited workouts mean shirts, shorts and helmets only.
“We will be in helmets and shorts until Friday,” said Atchison.
El Reno does face a challenge in that school starts earlier than last year. The Indians will have practices Monday and Wednesday at both 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday will be a single practice as well as Thursday, the first day of classes.
“We will have the two days with two practices and then school starts. Once school begins we will go to the one practice per day. Last year we had a week of practices before school started.
“We will get the same amount of time but it will be in a different situation. We’ve got to make the best of it and do what you can do,” said Atchison.
El Reno also faces the time crunch of having a zero week game Aug. 30 with Poteau. The Indians will have one preseason scrimmage with Clinton on Aug. 23 before hosting the Pirates in the 2019 opener.
“This will be our last year for zero week. We have a good grasp of both the offense and the defense so I think the key for us will be getting our younger players used to the game plan and getting into condition.
“Last year I thought we were in good shape and we just went down to Poteau and didn’t play well. So that will be key for us again this year, getting in good shape and then going out and playing well,” said Atchison.