The first two days of official practice for the Halifax County High School football team are in the books, and the Comets appear to be off to a good start.
Comets players are in what head coach Grayson Throckmorton calls “camp,” a period that has about 15 days remaining in which Comets players will participate in two practice sessions a day.
Coaches and players spent a majority of the time at Thursday’s opening session dealing with organizational issues, things like assigning lockers and practice jerseys, players being fitted with helmets and coaches reviewing paperwork to make sure that items such as physical exam forms, insurance forms and other items were in order.
Coaches and players took the field early Thursday evening for one practice, and they got both of Friday’s sessions in. Thunderstorms both Thursday night and Friday night cut field time about a half an hour short.
A lot was accomplished in the first two days, Throckmorton said.
“For the most part, we’ve gotten a pretty good start,” Throckmorton remarked after Friday’s workouts.
“It was pretty normal. We were able to get quite a bit done as far as organizational things are concerned, things like getting kids assigned to lockers, helmets, practice jerseys and girdle pads issued, getting the kids to the proper areas they need to be in, reviewing our procedures as far as coming to practice and preparing for practice and how we will handle the two-a-day practices in camp.
“Thursday and Friday we got hindered a little bit with (bad) weather,” added Throckmorton.
“Hopefully, next week we will be free of that.”
As far as numbers go, approximately 80 players were on hand for the first two days of practice, and more are expected to join in this coming week. Throckmorton says he feels pretty good about the numbers.
“I know there are some players we have targeted that we want in the program or some players from last year that are missing right now for one reason or another,” Throckmorton said.
“There are probably three or four athletes that if they show up will really help us. A lineman or two, a couple of skill guys, we’d like to get. If we don’t get them we will keep moving forward. We’re going to take the guys that are here and love them up and play tough Comets football.”
One of the key things Throckmorton and the coaching staff will be working on with the players through the camp sessions is getting the players into football shape.
“We’re not in very good shape right now,” Throckmorton pointed out.
“We knew we would be a little bit behind. At the end of next week, we will be leaps and bounds ahead of where we are right now.”
The Comets coach said that is a situation that is faced each season.
“It seems like each year that is a constant battle that becomes larger and larger,” Throckmorton noted.
“It’s not that the guys don’t push themselves. They get so much more in their lives thrown at them that something has to take a back seat. You can’t have something at the forefront all of the time. Sometimes it’s the workouts that take a back seat. Even though we make strides and progress toward that, kids have a ton of things that they have to do nowadays.”
Throckmorton says that for the most part, the players are doing pretty well.
“They are working hard in the weight room, and they’re working hard at the cross-fit things we do,” explained Throckmorton.
“There is no question about that. The problem is they don’t prepare them for the physical part of the running that actually gets them in shape. Nothing is going to prepare you for the football speed or the football shape except football practice, and that’s where we are.”
With the two introductory days of camp in the books, Throckmorton says things will start ramping up this week.
“A week from now we should be a in a rut as far as the routine goes,” the Comets coach pointed out.
“That’s what you want. The guys will know what’s going on, what’s taking place and that the expectation level is high. Kids will be meeting expectations, and coaches will be meeting expectations. It just takes a little bit of time to get that organization you need and that fluid motion in progress.”
Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.