Two weeks ago we were on spring break at the beach, at home, or visiting a foreign country with not a worry in the world.
Fast forward to 8 a.m. this past Saturday, butterflies were in our stomachs as we were both excited and nervous to scrimmage for the first time all spring.
So, how did we go from 80 degrees on Miami Beach to 40 degrees at Barker-Lane Stadium? Let me take you through the process:
Step 1 – Getting the Body Back in Shape
It was the first day back from break and it’s time to get our bodies back into shape. There is no better way to start then with a heavy squat day to, as Coach Minter says, ‘get the legs back.’ I learned quickly that Coach Minter and I have opposite definitions when it comes to getting the legs back.
On Monday our lift focused on the lower half of the body, so by no surprise on Tuesday we had an upper body lift. The surprise came when lift ended and Coach Stryffeler told us to get our cleats on for coaches stations.
The feeling we had within us was similar to when a coach tells you to get on the line after practice. To our luck though, the coaches stations we did were a condensed version and we were all smiles around 6 p.m. when it was time to head home.
Step 2 – Team Bonding
Everyone was ready for some rest and relaxation and what better way to do that then gathering in the field house to play UNO and eat wings.
We were able to take a small break from reality, enjoy a simple childhood game, and learn a little bit more about each other.
After the games finished up and the wings were gone, we headed over to the Convocation Center to watch the basketball team in the College Basketball Invitational. There was only one rule all night; no cell phones allowed.
Step 3 – Back to the Basics
It’s finally time to get back on the practice field. With two practices over the next three days, the coaches want to ensure we all have a great grasp on our base formations and plays after going a week and a half without practice.
So, there were no new concepts in for practice Thursday and Saturday. However, Saturday’s practice brought something new to the mix, full pads. Saturday’s practice was filled with contact, contact, and more contact with live drills mixed in throughout practice. The industriousness and enthusiasm were high.
Step 4 – Routine Lift & Meetings
After a glorious day off on Sunday, it was time to get back work. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays consist of weight training, conditioning, and meetings. This week was a bit special as we prepared for our first scrimmage of Spring Football on Saturday.
With a scrimmage, comes new plays and formations. We worked on understanding the new plays and studied film from practice during the week to sharpen our knowledge on the new pressures, route concepts, and pre-snap reads that our coaches threw upon us.
Step 5 – Practice Time (again)
It was time to move out of the meeting room and onto the field and practice these new concepts we installed. Tuesday’s practice had its ups and downs, which comes when something new is installed.
After seeing the new concepts on film, we were able to clean up some things and fix the kinks. Thursday’s practice was shorter and precise, as we wanted to be as sound as possible going into the scrimmage.
That’s not all though. This week we had drills on our four different phases of special teams: kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return. Although, punt was nothing new to us; we do it every single day. Yes, it is as exciting as it sounds.
Step 6 – Scrimmage Day
The day has finally come and we don’t mind waking up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning as much as before.
The routine stays the same with a team meeting to start of the day, then transitioning to position meetings for last minute adjustments and then an hour of free time to prepare our minds and bodies before going full force for the first time this spring.
I will say the scrimmage went well, however as you know depending on the player or coach you talk to the narrative could be different. Nonetheless, we can all agree that the scrimmage was effective in measuring not only the potential success of individual players, but the execution of the new concepts going forward.
Thomas Hartshorn is a redshirt senior linebacker on the Campbell Football team from Apex, N.C. Read his entire blog series leading up to the start of the 2018 season.