No offseason for local players

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Not so long ago getting ready for football season meant showing up for the first day of practice in late summer.

Times have changed. Now if a program is going to be successful, the players have to prepare themselves on a year-round basis.

Offseason conditioning programs can be found at almost every school, including those in the Miss-Lou. Although school has been out for only a few short days, already area coaches have set up times for their players to lift weights, work on agility and increase their cardiovascular fitness.

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One team hoping to use the offseason as springboard to success in the fall is Cathedral.

Although the Cathedral football team had a chance to win most of the games in which it played, the Greenwave and coach Ken Beesley walked away with only two wins – a stat Beesley hopes to improve on this year. In an effort to improve on those numbers, Beesley said his team began two hour workouts on Monday to help them prepare for what will hopefully be a run to the playoffs in the fall.

&uot;We have a program each year,&uot;&160;Beesley said. &uot;It’s hard to get all the kids there because a lot of them work during the summer, but we have good numbers.&uot;

Beesley said a summer workout program is a must these days – if you want to compete.

&uot;It’s one of the main things,&uot; he said. &uot;If you don’t lift weights, you can’t compete.&uot;

He said the program’s main objective is to strengthen players and make them more agile.

&uot;The main thing we concentrate on is getting stronger,&uot; he said. &uot;We do a lot of agility drills also, but we mainly focus on strength.&uot;

He said the Greenwave will focus on upper body workouts two days a week and the lower body two days a week.

&uot;We pull tires and have rope drills (high step drills),&uot; he said. &uot;We also jump rope. A lot of different drills like that.&uot;

Beesley’s beliefs in the value of offseason conditioning are shared by the other coaches in the Miss-Lou. The Vidalia High School weight room is open from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. each day. Vidalia coach Dee Faircloth said the facility is also open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday to help players with jobs.

Faircloth also said the Viking players are required to lift two days a week.

&uot;We had 40 players show up this (Tuesday) morning, and I expect to have a few more in the afternoon,&uot; he said.

The Adams County Christian School weight room will open two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, four days a week. The facility will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7 to 9 a.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

New Natchez head coach James Denson also is putting his squad through some tough offseason work. According to assistant coach Eric Quon the Bulldogs are working as much on building team spirit as muscle.

&uot;The entire team works out together,&uot; Quon said. &uot;We start at 5:45 a.m. I tell them that they don’t owe me anything, but they do owe each other. It takes everyone at their best to win.&uot;

Ferriday football coach James McFarland said his team will begin workouts on June 11. Coaches at Huntington and Trinity could not be reached for comment, but you can rest assured those programs will also be working hard this summer.