Photo by Christine Troyke
In recent years, the first day of high school football practice has brought concerns about the summer heat.
That was not the case -- thanks to an overcast day that kept temperatures down in the low to mid-80s -- as teams throughout Gwinnett County and all of Georgia began their preparations for the 2010 season Monday.
"I don't know what our trainer said the heat index was, but it couldn't have been too high. I don't think I even broke a sweat," joked first-year Duluth coach Corey Jarvis. "We were very fortunate."
Teams may not be quite so fortunate as skies are supposed to clear and bring more sun and hotter temperatures the rest of the week.
And beating the heat isn't the only issue as teams prepare for their respective openers.
With the school year at most school systems and private schools beginning next week and some teams beginning their seasons as early as the weekend of Aug. 20-21, preseason practice time will be at a premium.
"You look at our schedule and we're (playing) a week sooner (than most schools) because of the Corky Kell (Classic), ... so we feel like we're sort of on a short leash," North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire said. "We don't have nearly the number of practice sessions we've had in the past. But then again, everyone's going to spread them out."
But Sphire added that while some teams may feel a bit rushed in preparation for their season openers, it doesn't necessarily mean the players are well behind in the first week.
"Day one nowadays is different than it was in the past," Sphire said. "Between spring and all the stuff we're allowed to do with them in the summer, like passing leagues and tournaments, they're not coming in at square one.
"It's probably tougher for some of the new guys, but ... it's more like picking up where we left off."
Situations like North's are a little different from ones like Duluth, where Jarvis is in his first season coaching the Wildcats after moving over from M.L. King High School in DeKalb County.
But even in that situation, Jarvis believes the excitement of a new season overrides any concern or confusion of learning a new coaching staff, at least initially.
"I think it went real well," Jarvis said of his first practice session with the Wildcats. "They seemed to pick up the system well. With the kids, everything is new for them. So, it's exciting because it's a different thing.
"For me, it's exciting because we've had a couple of kids who moved in and some others who have grown up a lot, both physically and maturity-wise, since I first got here."