Pre-camps prep teams for FB camp

Some of the most important work on a football field is done when you’re not wearing pads or helmets.

This week, the four District 51 high school football teams ran their own voluntary workouts before Monday’s official start of practice.

Palisade worked out every morning this week to get ready for the season.

“This is a preparatory stage,” coach John Arledge said. “We are trying to finalize some positions, and while it’s early, nothing is totally set, but it helps us build a depth chart.”

The Bulldogs organized the week similar to how an NFL team would use a minicamp. Palisade ran play after play on both the offensive and defensive sides wearing T-shirts and shorts, working against tackling dummies.

With the work they’ve done during pre-camp, the Bulldogs hope to be in full swing for Monday’s start to training camp.

“On Monday, we shouldn’t have to put anything in but special teams,” Arledge said. “Both our offense and defense should be in and now we have to get better at what we have in.”

Arledge said the Bulldogs get both an offensive and defensive practice in, with a 30-minute break between, during the six-hour daily voluntary camp.

“We have so many kids that go both ways that we have two different practices every day,” Arledge said. “We do both, which makes it somewhat long, but right now we have the leisure to do that because of no school.”

Arledge said the pre-camp is also a way to introduce younger players to the protocol of practice.

“This is a lot different than freshman football where it’s about having a great time and not as much of a time commitment,” Arledge said. “As a sophomore it becomes survival mode, ‘Can I make it to Friday afternoon?’

“Monday starts and it’s ‘Can I make it to Wednesday?’ Once they get it down they’re fine, but the first two weeks is tough.”

Central, Grand Junction and Fruita ran their camps in the evenings this past week. Central coach Vern McGee said his young players got a good head start.

“We have 20 freshmen out this week and they’ll be ahead on things when Monday comes,” McGee said. “We can get kids into the system and the ones that show up are ahead of the game.”

Official practice begins Monday, but the teams aren’t allowed to wear full pads until Wednesday. Fruita opens the season at Broomfield on Aug. 26, Central and Palisade square off Sept. 2 at Stocker Stadium and the Tigers open Sept. 2 at Highlands Ranch.

“When you can’t wear pads you have to do a lot of things to make sure everyone is in the right formation,” McGee said. “This is a good time to get kids understanding everything.”


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