By Kevin Eckleberry firstname.lastname@example.org
August 6, 2014
There were no phones.
That was the primary rule LaGrange High head football coach Dialleo Burks had for his players as they reported for a football camp on Friday.
“I took all cell phones. No communication,” Burks said. “They said coach, it doesn’t feel right.”
Burks wanted to make sure all of the players were focused on football, and getting to know their teammates.
The players spent Friday and Saturday night together, and while they got ample practice time in, Burks said there was plenty of fun as well, including some time spent on the water fishing.
The camp began with a pair of practices on Friday, and ended with the players attending a worship service on Sunday.
Burks said the hope was that the time the players spent together would help create a tighter bond.
“You go through a lot. You have to be able to trust each other,” Burks said. “I thought it was great.”
Friday marked the first day teams could practice in full pads, and there was also no time limit on the practices.
Burks took advantage of that by getting his team out on the field twice on Friday.
“We had great weather the first practice, and then the sun kind of came out for the second one,” Burks said. “They got a chance to see what a true camp day is like.”
On Saturday morning, the players and coaches went to Callaway Stadium for picture day, and after that they returned to camp for some fun, according to Burks.
Burks even got into the act by catching a fish while he was out on the water.
“We came back and it was all out fun,” Burks said. “I saw the guys just let everything go.”
The players returned to work on Monday for another full-contact practice, and the week will wrap up with a short scrimmage on Friday, which is the first day of school for the students.
Beginning next week, LaGrange will get into the regular afternoon practice schedule it will maintain for the rest of the season.
The Grangers will play their preseason game on Aug. 15 at Newnan, and they’ll kick the season off on Aug. 22 against Callaway.
While the Grangers are coming off a 3-7 season, Burks said the team will get the best shot from everyone it plays because of LaGrange’s reputation in football.
“The expectations, they’re not going to be able to get away from it,” Burks said. “We understand that. We are a program with great tradition.”
LaGrange’s first two games this season are against Callaway and Troup, and that follows the preseason game against long-time rival Newnan.
Burks said a key for his team will be not letting any one game carry added significance.
“We’ll take it one week at a time,” Burks said. “I feel the same way about Callaway, as I do about Carver, as I do about Columbus, Hardaway. We’ll treat each and every game the same. We won’t put any game above any other one.”
Burks also said he’s hopeful his players will do their talking on the field.
“We don’t want players to talk or create bulletin-board material,” Burks said. “Just come out there and show what you got.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 (ext. 232) or on Twitter @lagrangesports