“We have to push, there is no doubt. It’s not perfect. I’d be lying if I said it was. They are kids. Our job as coaches is to make sure we do push them, they are pushing through it. Do we have problems with it? Yes. And we have to overcome some of that, but I think that is part of what hurts us in the dead period in the state of Tennessee, taking two weeks off,” Floyd said of the battle with heat, humidity and fatigue. “But, we understand as coaches that is part of our job, to push them. We give them plenty of water. And going at 6 p.m., our practice field will be completely shaded by 6:45. We’re pretty fortunate there. But yes, the heat does bother us.”
To combat the mental and physical fatigue Floyd and his assistant coaches are busy installing some of the early versions of the offensive and defensive schemes the team will print in the final playbook. After finishing 7-on-7 scrimmages, the Bears are mainly focused on running and special teams.
“Right now, of course, still no pads so defensively it’s hard to do a whole lot. Offensively we are at least able to put in some schemes in our run game. We got all our passing stuff done in our passing league. We are really focused on the run game right now and that’s probably what we will do next week when we throw on pads. Defensively we will be working on stopping the run,” said Floyd.
“We are just trying to keep cool right now and get everybody ready for next week.”
The Bears are taking what they learned in the passing league scrimmages and zeroing in on what worked and what needs work. The Bears coach said of the league there is a lot to be learned and only so much that can be accomplished in the practice sessions. It will take getting into full uniforms and playing real football to find out who is going to step up to make the starting roster.
“Seven-on-7s are really good. You get a lot of reps and get to look at a lot of kids. The bad thing is, it’s not really football. We understand that. We try to take as many positives out of them as we can and learn from them and our negatives and the mistakes we are making coverage-wise. You are obviously putting in your passing game. But, really at this point you get kind of sick of them and you are ready for real football,” said Floyd. “We’ve got to find out what kind of team we are going to be physically and mentally. Obviously, when you put the pads on, now the heat is going to be different. Can we overcome some of that stuff? We need to find out how tough of a team we are going to be and that’s what we are going to find out next week.”
The Bears will jump into two-a-days Monday, the same day they put on pads for the first time. The team will push through the grueling double practice sessions only twice before going back to single practices. The first scrimmage comes on Aug. 4 against Chattanooga Central. Floyd said the coaches will seriously begin to see who will wear the Black and Gold on Friday nights. The live scrimmages, Floyd said, will allow coaches to see who is rising to the top, but he fully expects to see teams take advantage of situations that have not been game planned.
“The scrimmage will tell us a lot, but we don’t game plan for them. There are certain things you are not prepared for in a certain offense. We will be involved in a six-way scrimmage and we will be involved in a wide variety of offenses. There will be some things that I’m sure teams will advantage of. It’s not a true indication all the time. We just want to see who can tackle, who can get off blocks, who is going to play through adversity and that kind of thing,” he said.
“In those regards, yes it helps. Could you be in better situations against some offenses you are facing? Yes, but you won’t do that until you game plan.”
When the pads go on Monday, it will be time to see who really is ready to go and who is taking up sideline space. Time for talk will be over and the real heat and sweat will begin to be realized. The first two days of next week will begin to tell who will be making the Bill “Chief” Robertson Bear Walk Aug. 17.
“They say they are (ready to put in the pads). Every year you have kids that say they are fired up and can’t wait to put the pads on. Then, they come back for that second practice on Monday or the third practice on Tuesday morning and they are not as excited. I guess that is part of it. Yes, they say they are fired up, so we’ll see,” said Floyd.