Panthers run into new season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Georgiana Panthers began their practice season without even touching a football.

Head coach Shane Smothers put the team through a run conditioning test to &uot;cap off the summer.&uot;

&uot;We’ve seen them do agility exercises and things like that during the summer to see their physical abilities, but this was a good way for me to see their mental toughness,&uot; Smothers said. &uot;We didn’t even take the ball bag out, and they’d never done that before.&uot;

Smothers said that he had 26 players take part in the run conditioning, and all of them passed.

&uot;This is an accomplishment to those guys, and now they’re excited because we said that the footballs will be out after this,&uot; he said.

For Smothers, he said that conditioning is a big part of his plan for the Panthers.

&uot;The major thing is to be in better shape as a two-way player than any one-way player,&uot; Smothers said. &uot;With 26 kids, we’ve got to be in really good shape, and I think the kids have bought into it.

I want a player that can last for four quarters.&uot;

Following the conditioning, Smothers plans to work on the team’s fundamentals.

&uot;We’re going to work on fundamentals as long as it takes,&uot; he said.

&uot;We’re going to work on the little things.&uot;

&uot;We’re going to be patient and get good at those little things and keep it simple for the first couple of weeks,&uot; Smothers continued.

A usual tradition for Smothers is what he calls Midnight Madness.

Normally, his teams take to the field in full pads at 12:01 a.m. on the first day that pads are allowed at football practice and work into the early hours of the morning.

&uot;It’s an awesome thing,&uot; Smothers said. &uot;I’ve had up to 100 parents come out before and stay until 2 a.m.&uot;

The first day teams are allowed in pads is Thursday, which is also the first day of school for Butler County schools.

&uot;I didn’t have to worry about school the next day, but now with the students coming to school that day, it puts a kink in everything,&uot; Smothers said.

Although Midnight Madness is still uncertain, the Panthers plan to take to the field every day this week.

&uot;The attitude is good right now,&uot; Smothers said. &uot;We’re excited and working hard with no complaints.&uot;