Fall football workouts continue throughout the state in preparation for the upcoming season with area teams attempting to beat the heat.
Pine Bluff coach Bobby Bolding wanted to see more fire in the eyes of his players as the second week of fall drills began.
Bolding got what he wanted starting with Monday’s practice and saw a continuation of that Tuesday as the Zebras prepare for their season opener Aug. 31 against Fort Smith Northside.
“We are right where we need to be,” Bolding said. “We had a good practice (Monday) with good intensity. We were looking for that intensity and got that out of them.”
Bolding continues to refine his depth chart, including the quarterback position where Rickey Clements and Brandon Starks are vying for the starting job.
“They are still battling it out,” Bolding said. “It changes every day. One day one will have a good day, then the next day the other one looks good. We are still looking for consistency in that position.”
Bolding said the team is healthy with the exception of normal wear and tear.
“We have those routine bumps and bruises for this time of year but nothing serious,” he said.
Padding the players at WC
Watson Chapel coach George Shelton saw his team in full pads for the first time Tuesday morning.
Shelton said the heat caused some issues with a couple of players needing intravenous fluids to prevent cramping. He said the Wildcats will move indoors if the heat presents too much of a problem.
“I don’t mind going inside,” he said. “I know we are going to have some afternoon practices coming up and that’s right in the worst part of the day. We are going to have to make some serious decisions. But we can do everything we need to do inside.”
Shelton said he wanted the players to get the most of each workout session.
“We want to practice but we want to have quality practices,” Shelton said. “It doesn’t take long to lose focus in this heat. We are trying to get them accustomed to the climate. They have to learn how to take care of their bodies.”
Watson Chapel is 13 days away from a home scrimmage against Forrest City and 22 days away from its season opener against Siloam Springs in Fayetteville.
All Bulldogs accounted for
With all of his players accounted for and everyone in full pads, White Hall coach Mike Vaughn is starting to see his team round into shape, which is important since he has 14 starting spots to fill due to graduation.
On the first day of practice, Vaughn said about 25 players were missing. Since then, those players have been accounted for, made up that practice and have been with the team since.
“That first day, you always have that for rookies and sophomores because of vacation,” he said. “We have had everyone back.”
White Hall also put on full pads this week, and Vaughn has been pleased with what he has seen out of his team while in full gear.
“I have seen major progress,” he said. “Since Monday and Tuesday, we got a lot done on defense and starting to see a good balance. We couldn’t tell with the defense in shorts and helmets, but we are seeing what they are made of.”
Most of the eyes will be on the quarterback battle between senior Terrance Warren and sophomore Kirk Baugh. So far, Baugh has taken more of the snaps under center, but that is because Warren can play wide receiver, running back and inside linebacker.
Vaughn said no clear-cut favorite has emerged, but he is happy with how both Warren and Baugh have played.
“Both have impressed and I have seen them constantly improve,” he said. “Terrence does so many things that Kirk gets so many reps … not there yet for a starter, though.”
White Hall scrimmages Malvern at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 at Bulldog Stadium.
Cards developing depth
After seeing some injuries to key players during last year’s 4A semifinal run, Dollarway coach Cortez Lee knows how important have depth is.
Even though Dollarway had seven offensive and eight defensive starters returning, Lee still wants the backups to develop just in case they are pressed into action.
“Last year we had the same team we have now, but some of our starters went down and other guys stepped up,” he said. “That allowed us to have depth in the playoffs, so that’s an important part to the season and why we want to be ready.”
It may be just more than a week after practice started, but that is the area Lee said the team still needs to develop the most as camp progresses.
“The team aspect is coming along and guys are pulling for each other,” he said. “We still have to continue to develop more depth. The more players that can play, especially early in the season, it can definitely help us.”
Dollarway is practicing with helmets and shorts and will shift into full pads possibly on Thursday, Lee said.
Ridgway learning the ropes
Since it is the first year Ridgway Christian will have football, the first task has been to teach the game to the players.
So far, Ridgway has 14 players on the senior high team and nine on the junior high team, according to coach Trent Young. After the teams’ first full week of practice, Young said the players are picking up the game well.
“They are learning really quick and we have three or four natural athletes,” he said. “They have been learning about the game along with conditioning.”
There is one area that Young has been focusing on the most, though.
“I am stressing defense first, and defense first has always been my motto,” said Young, who has been a coach for the past 30 years.
So far, Ridgway is scheduled to play five senior high games with the first one on Sept. 14 against Southwest Christian. The Eagles’ first scrimmage is scheduled for Aug. 30 against the Arkansas School for the Deaf.