MURFREESBORO – Footballs will be brought back Monday morning to high school football practice fields across the state.
Pads and full contact, though, will have to wait another three weeks.
A TSSAA-mandated two-week dead period concludes in another day, allowing football teams to begin to hone their passing games while they wait to be able to put on full pads on July 27.
“As the dead period comes to a close, I miss being with our staff,” said Blackman High first-year coach David Watson. “That’s a family outside of our family. I’m excited to get back with our kids and get back to working.
“We’ll turn up the intensity just a little bit. (Players) are going to be a little more focused because they know the season is just around the corner. We’re going to be more focused as coaches because we are going to get to go compete with other teams in 7-on-7.”
For two weeks, teams can practice in shirts, shorts and helmets. Beginning July 20, teams can practice in helmets and shoulder pads during a week of heat acclimation. Each player must practice in helmets and shoulder pads for three days prior to beginning practice in full pads July 27.
Teams have 10 days to work out with other teams — minus pads — prior to July 27.
Riverdale will sponsor its annual Bojangles 7-on-7 tournament July 9 with 20 teams registered for it. Ravenwood’s 7-on-7 tournament is scheduled for July 11 and has 26 teams. MTSU’s 7-on-7 passing tournament is slated for July 18.
“The rules in June loosening up has helped,” Stewarts Creek coach David Martin said. “We got some things in there. We had a plan on how we wanted to install things. We did a lot of the passing game, which you can do without pads.”
The TSSAA allowed teams to hold practices — without pads — after the school year concludes until the dead period begins.
“We did a lot of play-action work in spring ball, so we’ve gotten a lot of our stuff in,” Martin said. “Hopefully, we’ll get back now and will remember all of that and be ready to get back at it.”
Watson said the two weeks off was a good thing for him and his team.
“I think most of our kids find a place to work out and are in pretty good condition,” Watson said. “When we start back, we’ll recondition a little.
“I think it’s a good thing. I know as a coach the two weeks off rejuvenates you. It’s got to do the same thing for the kids.”
Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.
Dates to know
Monday: Dead period ends; teams can practice in helmets.
July 9: Bojangles 7-on-7 Passing Tournament at Riverdale with 20 teams involved, including Blackman, Oakland, Riverdale and Stewarts Creek.
July 11: Ravenwood 7-on-7 Passing Tournament with 26 teams teams involved, including Blackman, Oakland, Riverdale and Siegel involved.
July 18: MTSU 7-on-7 Passing Tournament
July 20: Teams can begin to practice in helmets and shoulder pads.
July 27: Practice in full pads begins.
July 30: First day teams allowed to scrimmage
Aug. 20: Siegel plays Ravenwood in first game of season.