For the LaGrange High football team, it’s the calm before the storm.
With the ‘dead period’ beginning next week for all high schools in Georgia - which prohibits athletic practices or games for any high-school sport— the Grangers and head coach Steve Pardue will deviate from offseason weight lifting for a few days.
After that, however, things will really pick up.
The Grangers haven’t done much so far this summer in terms of skill work, but that will change in July.
With many players competing in summer basketball or baseball, the Grangers will turn their focus to football soon.
Pardue said the team will begin seven-on-seven passing drills after the break, and will compete in a pair of tournaments as the month wears on, beginning with one at Northside High July 18.
“Everyone will get some time off, then we’ll come back and start throwing more,” Pardue said.
In addition to continued weight lifting, passing drills will be held three days a week, which will only help the offense and defense prepare for the tournaments and the upcoming season.
Grangers’ senior quarterback Jamius Gunsby hasn’t been slacking.
Gunsby, who holds scholarship offers from Florida and Troy, is currently at the Nike Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in Las Vegas, and will show off his skills for many college scouts.
The prestigious event will only increase interest in Gunsby, according to Pardue.
“He went out there Thursday and he’ll be back (today) or Sunday,” Pardue said. “It’ll be a great experience for him.”
When Gunsby returns, he’ll help polish a Granger passing attack that has some question marks at wide receiver.
With 2008 leading pass-catchers Rodney Tolbert and David Earl having graduated, it’ll be a big task for the Grangers to find new go-to targets for Gunsby to throw to.
That’s why Pardue is planning on stepping up the seven-on-seven passing drills a little more than usual.
“We’re young at wide receiver,” Pardue said. “We’ll do more with the passing game this summer than we normally will.”
“We want the kids to be excited about (seven-on-seven drills). It’s something we haven’t done all summer, and hopefully they’ll all be ready to go.”
Pardue, who is the football chairman for the Georgia Athletic Coaches’ Association, spent much of last week at the program’s seminar at St. Simon’s Island.
He was in charge of running the meetings and securing speakers, so he had his hands full.
With football about to heat up, he needs a break, and is going on vacation for the dead period.
It’s just what he and his team needs at this point.
“I think (the dead period) is a good chance to rest a little bit,” Pardue said. “The kids still need to be kids and do their own thing for a while. It’s good for the coaches too.”