It may be hard to imagine, but high school football season is just four weeks away. And although school is still out, the Waterloo High School football team has been training all summer long.
“We don’t hit very much at all during the summer, because I just think it’s a little too much,” WHS football coach Dan Rose explained. “Even though we had shoulder pads on (Monday), we were just blocking bags.”
Although the practices are “lighter,” the Bulldogs gridiron gang is determined, training several times a week during the summer. A typical summer schedule includes a week off after school ends for the summer, followed by a solid month of training until the team has a week off around the 4th of July holiday. But they gear up again, and work up to the last full week of July. That marks the start of the “dead period,” from Aug. 1 until the first day of official practice on Aug. 14. In that time off, the players are given a running program to keep them in shape.
During those gruelling hot summer months, the varsity squad comes in Monday and Wednesday from 7:30 to 10:30 or 11 a.m., in addition to a few 7-on-7 tournaments sprinkled in, while the underclassmen come in Tuesday and Thursday.
“We bring the freshman in, teach them the weight room, teach them our processes,” Rose described. “The sophomores are also in at that time to work as a JV team. That way when their freshman year hits the freshmen can come into weight training class and already know what’s going on.”
The squad’s training regimen includes doing their scheduled lift for an hour or so, then taking part in a new speed training program Rose and assistant coach Clay Moehrs established this year, followed by 7-on-7 or segment/position specific work, and concluding with team work on full offense/defense or 7-on-7.Bulldog junior Rick Wiegand and senior Austin Campbell take a knee during summer football training Monday.
“We come in and do (plyometrics) one day or we do starts,” Rose said of their previous speed conditioning tactics. “We would do this or that, but we really felt like we wanted to have a specific thing that we did so the kids got into a habit of doing certain things.”
The implementation of a new speed system formed by a former defensive back from Stanford has already been producing results, says Rose.
“We have seen a difference. Our standing long jumps have gone up quite a bit; our 40 (meter) times have gone down.”
Rose and the coaches have named the program BEAST — Bulldog Elite Agility & Speed Training Club — to help the players hit certain benchmarks.
“We try to look for ways to train that are beneficial and to improve,” Rose explained. “The key is there’s a lot of programs out there, it’s how well you do a program as opposed to what program you are doing.”
The Bulldogs are not only training a bit differently this summer, but they may also alter their traditional two-a-days this season due to the limits the IHSA put on the amount of practicing they can do in 2013.
“We used to have two-a-days where you’d come in and practice for two, two and-a-half hours, and that would include lifting and some other things and we would alter a practice a little bit,” Rose explained. “But that’s absolutely disallowed now.”With just four weeks until football season, the WHS gridiron gang huddles up for a chant.
Now, according to the new IHSA limits, you can have a three hour practice and an hour walk through without a football and review film.
“Which doesn’t make sense, because if you can’t have a foot- ball for a point of reference it doesn’t make any sense,” Rose said, adding that the new rules may not be a bad thing. He says he plans to have the team come in for one, three-hour practice as opposed to breaking it up and wasting time with multiple set- ups.
“It’s not going to be your old standard two-a-days where you are in here at 7 and you are back here at 3,” Rose said. “I don’t know if that matters much now with the contact days we get, because we get a lot more in than we used to get. So I don’t see a big problem with that.”
Rose also added that the amount of two-a-days the team could traditionally get in varied greatly in the past anyway. If school started later the team would get in several weeks of two-a-days, but they have also seen years where they just got in a few.
“We really have never seen a difference in game one with having that much more practice time anyway.”
Either way, the team is scheduled to play in its first game of the season Aug. 30, at home against Herrin.