Teams get in some early conditioning work

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 22, 2005

Football season doesn't end, it just takes a break.

In the professional and college ranks that statement has been true for years. Now, it's true for high schools.

Fort Dale Academy, was one of six Alabama Independent School Association schools, to take part in a 7-on-7 passing camp at Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

For some schools, it gives them time to break in a new quarterback, a new corps of receivers or defensive backs.

To Eagles coach James "Speed" Sampley, the two-day camp on Monday and Tuesday were two good conditioning days before the official start of fall practice on Thursday.

"It's good for what it is, which is just practice," Sampley said.

The two days also gave sophomore quarterback Casey Weston more time to grow acclimated to Fort Dale's new spread offense.

"This gave my quarterback a chance to learn," Sampley said. "He made a lot of mistakes and he made some good decisions. He'll get better. He just needs time."

During the camp, Sampley said he kept the routes on offense and his coverages on defense simple for the players.

"Our pass routes were real precise and our coverages weren't the best, but this gave them a chance to learn," the Eagles coach said. "But it was good so see someone else on the other side of the ball."

Joining Fort Dale Academy in the passing camp were Lowndes Academy, Taylor Road Academy, Macon-East Montgomery, Springwood School and Crenshaw Christian Academy.

While most schools brought between 15-20 players to the camp, Crenshaw Christian had just 10 players attend.

Roland Jones, who is heading into this third season as the Cougars coach, is one of a few coaches in the state who has decided to forgo the typical I-formation offense for the new and more exciting spread offense.

"As far as going to the spread, it won't happen while I'm at Crenshaw Christian," said Jones who led the Cougars to a 7-4 season.

The Cougars have operated out of the Pro I set, and they will continue to do so. Former Greenville High fullback Michael McDonald has transferred to the Luverne school and will be the starting tailback.

"We don't throw the ball but 10-12 times a game at the most," Jones said. "We'll still be an I-formation team, especially with McDonald over here."

So Jones said the two-day camp was a good conditioning tool.

"We got a chance to throw it around a bit, and it was good for our defense to see different kinds of sets," he said.

Senior quarterback Kline Jones will be working with a set of young receivers, so the camp gave Jones and his receivers time to work on timing.