A new policy and Mother Nature’s fury may be making it hard to get players in game shape for Friday nights.
Richmond Hill High School coach Lyman Guy noted Tuesday that he was "a little concerned" about the Georgia High School Association’s new heat policy, which he said isn’t allowing players to get truly prepared for games.
"There’s no heat policy for games," he said. "To me, it doesn’t affect us as much as it does the smaller schools where they don’t have as many players, but I still have concerns. I worry about them being in shape and being acclimated to the heat."
The GHSA’s new rules set the amount of time players can practice depending on the wet bulb temperature, essentially a combination of heat, humidity and the impact of the sun. Schools that violate the policy can face fines of up to $1,000.
Frequent lightning during the afternoon has forced practices indoors as well, but the Wildcats finally got on the field in full pads on Monday.
The result was probably typical of a first day practice.
"We’ve got a long way to go," said Guy, whose Wildcats are trying to build on last season’s breakthrough 6-4 campaign. "It’s mostly in the trenches. It’s just hard to get out there during the summer and simulate the real game without pads on. Those guys are doing drills and camps and all that stuff and it’s hard to simulate how it is on the offensive and defensive lines. I think every coach has that issue. You can get out there and walk through it all you want to, but it’s hard to simulate the real thing without pads on."
The elements aren’t helping, either. It rained Monday afternoon, adding more water to practice fields that have seen their fair share of the wet stuff in recent weeks.
"It was just real sloppy and wet," Guy said. "The field was flooded it was raining and the balls were wet, so I’m sure all that didn’t help as kids were out there slipping around. We didn’t look sharp our first day, but the elements could have had something to do with it."
The Wildcats have seven practices left before they take on South Effingham in a scrimmage Aug. 17 in Richmond Hill.
Note: Richmond Hill High School seniors Dominique Allen and Canon Rooker were recently named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Class AAAAA All-State watch list.
Both have already committed to colleges, with Allen giving a verbal yes to the Air Force Academy and Rooker committing to Sun Belt school Middle Tennessee State University. Allen accounted for 687 yards and 12 TDs rushing the ball and threw for five TDs in 2011. Rooker was 22 of 23 in extra point kicks last season and added a field goal. .