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Wildcat workouts are ‘summer job’

Florala’s Erik Vega and Austin McNeil practice a pass rout last week.

Florala football coach Chris Buckler said the focus this summer for the Wildcats is to get stronger.

Since June 22, Buckler said, the football team has been working out three days per week — Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — at 2-and-a-half hours per day.

And since the start of the workouts, the numbers have been good, Buckler said.

“Number wise, the lowest we’ve had was 28,” he said. “Our numbers are getting where we want them. It’s just trying to get them to understand that it’s an everyday process, and not a one-day-off and one-day-on process.

“The kids are taking to it pretty well. They’re working hard and we’re getting better.”

The Wildcats start each day working on a different aspect of the workout schedule.

On Tuesdays, the team works on speed development; on Wednesdays it’s more of an agility type workout; and Thursdays are for conditioning only.

“We do that for 30-45 minutes at the start of the practices,” Buckler said. Then, at the middle part of the workouts, Buckler said the team focuses on specific drills for the offense, defense and special teams.

Buckler said at the start of the summer, half of the team didn’t even know how to get in a stance on the field.

“We had a lot of fundamental issues that we had to get fixed,” he said. “We’re working on getting that fixed, and we’re starting to be able to get something accomplished now we’ve gotten past those fundamentals.”

And what does the team do at the end of each day’s workout session?

“The last part, we’re in the weight room for one hour and 15 minutes,” Buckler said. “We’re doing a multi-joint program, working on our upper and lower body — power lifting and olympic lifting. Then, we finish with the fourth quarter program at the end of each practice.”

The fourth quarter program includes different tasks the players have to accomplish in order to build “mental toughness,” Buckler said.

“We’re bringing a new wave of work ethic here,” he said. “A lot of the kids have said most of the time their summers consisted of sitting at the lake or playing Nintendo. Now, they understand that they are working here from 9-12 each day.”

With the start of fall practice less than a month away, Buckler said the primary focus in the last month will be the same it has been all summer.

“Our focus this whole summer has been to get stronger,” Buckler said. “We had three kids when I got here that could bench over 200 pounds, and that’s not good. We didn’t have any kids that could run under a five-second 40. So, we weren’t fast, and we weren’t strong. Our focus has been to get bigger and stronger.”