The warm-up days are over. To Tommy Johnson and Donnie Harris, the real fun begins Monday.
The Warren County High School and Warren County Middle School football teams start fall camp Monday, which comes after a week of TSSAA mandated practices in shoulder pads and helmets only.
Each Pioneer squad got in workouts last week in preparation for Monday - the official start of fall practice in the state of Tennessee.
Coach Johnson used his first week to get his players acclimated to playing in pads once again in hopes of cutting down injuries when fall camp begins.
“We got our mandatory three days in shells done so we can start full gear when fall camp starts Monday,” said Johnson. “We’re hoping it limits injuries once the guys get into full pads. We also wanted to work on getting them into shape while they are wearing pads.”
The two-hour workouts gave coach Johnson a few insights on his team as the Pioneers implemented base concepts of their offense and defense, but the crash course will be Monday when two-a-days begin.
Coach Johnson had made it a practice of holding fall camp the first official week the team can practice since arriving in 2010.
Coach Johnson will hold two practices a day the first week, with the Pioneers going out for a two-hour workout at 10 a.m. and returning to the field at 3 p.m. for a second practice. Before practices, players will have team meals and go through position and team meetings.
Coach Johnson is hopeful his group of Pioneers takes the challenge of the tough first week and depth begins to build on the roster.
“We have three teams this year, so we’re going to need depth at every level,” said Johnson. “This week isn’t all about who will be the starters. It’s about who can come in and spell those guys and give us quality time.”
“We want to build depth and get in the best possible playing shape.”
In his first year as head coach of the WCMS football team, Harris has inherited an inexperienced, but talented group of Pioneers. With many players moving on to play at the high school, coach Harris used his first week of practice to work on the basics.
“Most of our field work last week was installing drills and developing fundamentals,” said Harris. “They were pretty rusty the first day, but got better each day.
“We’re a little green, but the potential is there. We have a lot of things we can do. It’s about getting the guys coached up and ready.”
Coach Harris is also planning two practices a day this week, though the workouts will be in a shorter time frame than the high school practices.
The WCMS team will practice from 4-5:45 p.m. then take a short break before finishing each day with an hour workout from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
While last week was about slow and steady progress, coach Harris plans on making big strides this week by increasing the pace.
“We’re going to throw them into it. We’ve got to move the level of intensity up and show what it’s going to take to be successful,” said Harris. “We have to learn how hard we have to get after it.”
Each Pioneer squad will be showcased this Saturday when the Boys 2 Men football event is held at Nunley Stadium. The all-day football event will feature games from teams in the little leagues, along with full-scale scrimmages featuring WCMS and WCHS.
More information about the Boys 2 Men event will be in Wednesday’s Southern Standard.