The switch in routine from afternoons to mornings had head coach Derrick Davis a little concerned with some of his Wildcats still working summer jobs. But, the coach said the about-face has been a relatively nice change of pace.
“It’s nice to get the first week out of the way. I always feel like we could get more done. But, I’d say all-in-all, we are doing OK. The attendance has been good. The ones that need to be there are there,” Davis said.
“We are doing it a little different. We have changed from going in the evenings to going in the mornings. I actually kind of like that a little better.”
The change in practice has so far given Polk County an edge on the weather, but Davis said he is still limited as to how much the team can get done as far as serious work when it comes to football basics.
“I’m ready to go to pads. You can’t tackle and you can’t block in shorts. Those are the two main things we do need to work on. (Being in shorts) is helping us to get used to the heat. With three weeks (in shorts) you can kind of get used to it until you do go pads. It’s not going to simulate wearing pads, although we do wear helmets,” he said.
“You are limited in shorts as to what you can do defensively. But, we are able to get work in on our kicking game and work on our offensive timing a little bit.”
The Wildcats are not the only team facing the drudgery of being only in pads until July 30. The Polk staff, along with using the time to get the ’Cats acclimated to the weather while getting offensive and defensive formations in place, have told the team to stay focused on the big picture.
“It’s like it is for everybody, it’s hot and it’s a grind right now. I tell them to just look down the road. This is not the fun part. Keep looking down the road, it will get cooler and we will be able to play some games here before too long,” Davis stated.
The Wildcats’ coach went on to say that getting into full practice gear will give the staff a better field in which to assess talent and desire in game-type situations. Until that day, the fundamentals will be limited to conditioning, and familiarization with the basics of how to play the game. He also said while still in shorts, the ’Cats will work on something Polk County is not necessarily known for — passing.
“I keep going back to not being in pads, but there are some in the past that have looked good in shorts but didn’t quite pan out like we wanted when we got into pads. The biggest thing is being able to block, tackle and hit. I do like our attitude and effort coming in a 8 a.m. We don’t stay long. We stay a couple of hours, try to keep up a good tempo and get it done and get out,” said the Polk coach.
“You can install some things and get things done. We are still lifting. We do that and then go out. We will probably start working, believe it or not, on throwing a little bit more here in the next couple of weeks. That’s a good time to do that, while we are in shorts. We’ve been able to get a lot of our offense in and special teams. We have also been doing a lot of footwork drills, things you can do in shorts.
The Wildcats will keep their morning practice routine intact at least for the time being while taking a midweek break on Wednesdays.