By Rob Patrick
After what seemed to be a mad dash of a summer, Bryant Hornets head football coach Paul Calley and his staff will be[more] pulling the 2011 version of their team together on Monday, Aug. 1, for the beginning of fall practice.
“Monday through Wednesday, we’re going 8 to 11 (a.m.) in helmets and shorts,” Calley said. “Pads start Thursday and we’ll go 7 to 11:30. We’re going to try to be prepared to watch film right after practice. We have two in-service days Wednesday and Thursday of the next week (Aug. 10-11) so we’ll practice in the afternoon. It’ll probably start around 4:30 or 5 with the players and we’ll probably wait as late as possible before we go on the field. It’s so hot.”
School starts Aug. 15 so the team will settle into regular fourth-block practices at that point leading up to a pre-season scrimmage against Pine Bluff on Monday, Aug. 22, then the season opener in the Salt Bowl at War Memorial Stadium against Benton.
Asked about the summer work of the team, Calley said, “You know, we haven’t had much summer. With spring football finishing the first week of June then we went straight into team camp, 7-on-7. Then as soon as we came back from the two-week dead period, we started right back with team camps and 7-on-7.
“So it’s been a relatively short summer,” he acknowledged. “We were scheduled to have workouts all the way through last week and we worked out on Monday. But I just gave them Tuesday and Thursday off because I felt like we needed a break. We’ve had a lot of injuries that are not football-related. I just felt like the guys needed a little time to re-coop. I know I did, the coaches did. We were kind of spread thin.”
Though brief, Calley said the summer was productive. The team won the 7-on-7 tournament at Henderson State University under some adverse conditions. (For details, go here.)
“I felt like we grew a lot at that Henderson 7-on-7,” Calley mentioned. “We were missing some key people and, as the day wore on, we had a lot of heat-related problems just because we had very little rest in between games. And we had guys step up. That was very encouraging. I feel like that’s what allows your team to form a bond, to depend on one another when people that aren’t expected to step up and perform. So, even if we hadn’t won it, I think that would’ve been a real positive experience.”
The Hornets engaged in more team camps this summer as well.
“We did two JV and two varsity,” Calley said. “And that’s probably, from now on, what we’re going to do. And I’m going to try to do them in June. July’s hot and it’s harder to get everybody together. I’m going to try to do them a little bit closer to the end of spring football from now on so we can take a little bit more time off.
“It’s very important that you get that work,” he continued. “But it’s also important that your kids get a little rest and they look forward to coming back to football rather than dreading it and feeling like they’ve been doing it all summer.
“That’s how things are so much different than when I played,” Calley concluded. “You know, you looked forward to coming back. You look forward to starting practice. Now, you never have any off time and it’s more like a job. It shouldn’t be that way.”