Weather playing havoc with football practices

Douglas Fritz • Jul 22, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Area football teams face some challenges this summer, and it's not just the usual heat.As teams opened in helmets and shoulder pads Monday under the new TSSAA guidelines, they will likely not only deal with stormy weather but also potentially poor field conditions because of so much rain this year.“Everybody has to get work in, and every day is critical,” said Elizabethton head coach Shawn Witten. “It's the amount of reps, especially for young teams that graduated a lot of seniors. The most important thing right now is fundamental techniques and getting your timing down.”Witten also said there are potential problems in the future if the practice field is soft and gets chewed up in the summer.“If there's wear and tear on the fields early, those things will be worse as you go along,” said Witten. “It plays a role in the way you go about your practice plan.”With storms in the forecast seemingly almost every day, area teams will also have to figure out ways to get work done when they can't be outside.“Typically coaches always have a Plan B,” said Witten. “When it's wet a lot of teams focus more on a defensive practice, so you don't have to worry about fumbled snaps, timing routes, bad throws and dropped balls.”This week is being used to acclimate the players to the heat with the TSSAA allowing the “warming up” process this year.“I always think it's good any time you're making a change to help the kids,” said Witten. “You're letting the kids get adjusted, and it gives everybody a chance to break themselves in and get accustomed to the changes.”Elizabethton opens at home on Aug. 23 against Daniel Boone in Week Zero. However, like everybody across the state, the Cyclones have an extra week to get ready this season.“It's good because the worst thing you want to do is rush,” said Witten. “In the past you had 15 days in helmets, and as soon as you put your pads on it was this many days before scrimmaging and this many days before the season. You had to rush to get contact in.“Now I think with an extra week, you get good quality reps. And you can slow things down a little bit.”— — —The Big Seven Conference will hold its first golf jamboree Thursday.The competition will take place at Pine Oaks Golf Course, and part of the reason for having a jamboree was because of the course's 50th anniversary.Also, Science Hill head coach Kevin Vannoy said high school golf sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of football and other fall sports.“We wanted to have something to get the kids and people excited about golf,” said Vannoy. “We've got a point system for this event that we think will help the excitement.”Vannoy said all of the No. 1 golfers will play in a group with the winner earning points for his team. The No. 2 golfers will do the same, and so forth.Play will begin with a shotgun start at 8 a.m.Science Hill will open its season Aug. 5 with the boys competing in the Morristown Invitational. The girls will open the following day, and both events will be at Morristown Country Club.— — —The 2013 FCA Virginia versus Tennessee All-Star Senior Baseball Challenge will he held Friday at 5 p.m. at King University.Included on the Tennessee roster are Daniel Wagner and Taylor Smith from Daniel Boone, Austin Garrabrant and William McInturff from Unicoi County, Judd Hammons and Daniel Helm from Johnson County, and Sullivan East's Ryan Flick and Austin Smith.— — —Prep signings: Hunter Boone of Science Hill will make his college choice official Wednesday.He will sign a track scholarship with ETSU at 2 p.m. in the new Science Hill gymnasium.

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