Area football teams adapt to rule change

August 03, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

Rules change. Coaches adapt. And the hard work of preparing for high school football season changes only a little bit.

Thanks to a new rule that prohibits practice in full pads before Aug. 1, players weren't able to truly "get after it" until Friday, just three weeks before opening night for most of the seven area teams.

But that doesn't mean they haven't been busy in practice.

"It hasn't it changed much other than the fact that we weren't able to go in full pads and get into serious hitting," Boyle County coach Chuck Smith said.

Coaches are still sticking to their routines of two-a-day and three-a-day practices, but players aren't banging into each other all day long.


"Right now, for the first few weeks we've mainly been doing drills and getting everybody where we want them to be technique-wise," Casey County coach Andy Stephens said.

Classes start earlier than ever at schools using non-traditional schedules, meaning coaches try to take advantage of every minute they have before it's time for their players to hit the books. Students at Casey, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties and Harrodsburg will start school this week.

"It's pressing things a little bit," said Lincoln coach Robbie Lucas, whose school is using a modified year-round calendar for the first time. "We're not going to camp this year because school starts so early."

Here's a look at what's happening on the area practice fields:

Boyle County

Boyle gets on the bus today for its customary trip to team camp at Jabez. The Rebels had seven days of two-a-day workouts that wrapped up Friday.

"We've been doing a lot of drill work," Smith said.

Boyle again has the area's largest roster. Smith said he started with 67 players and now has 62.

Casey County

Casey has been trying to fill holes left by the loss of 17 seniors after last season. While Stephens said that process is nearly complete, he said there is a price to be paid.

"We're just not going to have as much depth," Stephens said. "Last year we only had two guys playing both ways, and now our depth is going to be young."

Casey has 42 players in practice.

"They're working pretty hard. I think they're looking forward to getting to play," Stephens said.


Danville practiced part of last week without coach Sam Harp, who was in Tulsa, Okla., to be honored at a national coaching awards program, but the Admirals haven't missed a beat.

Their two-a-day workouts will continue through Tuesday, and assistant coach Jerry Perry said they're working on every area of the game.

"We've been working on all facets: offense, defense and the kicking game. We might go two practices on offense in a row, then two on defense in a row," Perry said.

Danville has 54 players in practice.

Garrard County

Garrard closed a week of three-a-days with an intrasquad scrimmage Friday, and coach Steve Stonebraker said the lack of full-contact practice to that point allowed the Golden Lions to focus on fundamentals.

"Something we've really been working on as well has been special teams," he said.

Garrard carried 31 players last year but now has 44, which Stonebraker said is due in part to a campaign to get more students out.

"And I just think it's the fact that we've been established here for two years now," he said.

Lincoln County

With one year on the job behind him, Lucas said he has learned that turning things around at Lincoln will be a slow process.

"It all doesn't come at once," he said. "I'm a here-and-now-type person. I want it all, and I want it now, and that's been tough for me."

"But I'm proud of the way the kids have worked. In our second year we should see some improvement. Whether that means more wins or not, I don't know, but we should see some improvement."

One area that hasn't improved is the Patriots' roster size. There are 35 players working out at the area's largest school.

Mercer County

Graduation losses have left the Scotties a young team - only 10 of 51 players are seniors - and coach Duane Hammons said the result is a hungry bunch of Scotties.

"Practice has been great," Hammons said. "Our kids have had a great attitude, a great work ethic. They have really come out and pushed themselves."

Hammons said because of his team's inexperience, he's already working with the end of the season in mind.

"I think we'll be a contender at the end of the season; I really do," he said.

"It may take a couple of games to get the chemistry and everything. A district title is much more important than the first games of the season."

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