Trojans building athletes for fall

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Ferriday High School’s Charles Chandler works out during the Trojan’s summer workout program in preparation for this year’s football season. New Ferriday coach Richard Oliver said he hopes to make more explosive athletes during the summer program to get prepared for his first season at Ferriday. Ferriday will kick off fall practice August 11.

By Justin Whitmore

The Natchez Democrat

Ferriday — Explosiveness is an attribute that new Ferriday High School football coach Richard Oliver wants his players to possess, and throughout the summer Oliver has been pushing his players in the weight room and on the track to help them become more explosive on the football field this fall.

Email newsletter signup

“We are working on explosive lifts and trying to get the kids more explosive and stronger,” Oliver said. “We are also trying to work on hips and flexibility to make them better athletes.”

So far the work is going well, Oliver said.

“(The summer program) is going pretty good,” he said. “I wish I had a few more kids, but the kids that are coming are really doing what they are supposed to do.”

Oliver said the running work the team is doing on the track accomplishes a couple of goals.

The first is to improve the players’ speed, endurance and agility. The second is to test the players mentally, he said.

“You kind of get a feel of who can do what,” he said. “We try to put them in some adverse situations in the summertime so we can see what kind of kid we’re working with. With conditioning we see who is going to fight through it and who’s going to do what they are supposed to do.”

Oliver said summer programs are a must, just to keep up with the competition.

“Everybody is doing it, football is year-round. So, if you don’t workout in the summer you are kind of lost,” he said.

Oliver said he knows that the Trojans have some athletes he can work with.

“We’ve got some athletes, that’s just always the case around Ferriday. It is blessed with a number of athletes,” he said. “We have decent lineman and we’re just trying to work to get them better and polish them up a little bit.”

Oliver participated in spring ball, but this year’s spring practice was different than one’s he had seen in the past in Baton Rouge.

“Spring ball was a little different this year because we couldn’t compete with anybody else,” he said. “We went with ourselves but it’s difficult because we don’t know what kind of team we have in comparison (to other teams). You can say you are good, but compared to what?”

Oliver said he has his skill players working in seven on seven camps this summer, in addition to the workouts, in hopes of testing their willingness to compete.

Oliver hopes to attract more players to the summer workout programs before practice starts, he said.

“If you have kids in Ferriday that are coming to high school and want to play football they need to come out and start working out, because these kids that are out here working out are going to have a bit of an edge,” he said.

Oliver said fall practice officially starts when the players can strap on their helmets and shoulder pads August 11.