Mother Nature wasted no time in turning up the heat for the start of the 2019 football season with a steady stretch of 100-degree days this week.
“We have handled the heat pretty well, and we are working on keeping the kids hydrated,” coach Gerald Perry said. “This is something we deal with every year, and it’s nothing new to us.”
Wednesday’s practice was the hardest the Rams have faced this season because it was their first-afternoon practice with the temperature well at 102 degrees at 1 p.m. The Mineral Wells training staff kept a close watch and continually pushed water into athletes who were sweating it out as quickly as they took it in.
Monday’s practice started in shorts and helmets, and by Thursday the Rams graduated to full pads for their Friday practice.
Perry is sticking to a new philosophy of being a field general and moving himself to the different huddles in practice. Earlier in the year, Perry explained he was moving away from handling the Rams’ quarterbacks and turning those duties over to co-offense coordinator Landry Gunter.
“I think that helps us overall if I am acting more like a field general and not concentrating on just one area of our football team,” Perry said.
With Chance Willard coordinating the ground game, Perry now has the luxury of explaining what he wants from his air attack and ground game and having his two coaches streamline it.
Mineral Wells’ most apparent problem is developing an offensive line after graduation took 27 players off the roster. This year’s squad has only 11 seniors.
One place the Rams should be solid to start with is on defense, and that will be important with a young offense that is likely to make early mistakes.
“We’ve had lots of progress on the fundamentals thus far,” defensive coordinator Seth Hobbs said. “Communication has improved a bit as the week progressed. We haven’t done a whole lot of truly physical stuff, so that part of the game remains to be seen.”
Youth and inexperience aren’t the only problems facing Hobbs.
“I’ve been impressed with the defensive line and linebackers,” Hobbs said. “Their knowledge retention from last year and the spring have been noticeable. We need to continue to look at all the possible ways we can create depth; whether it be playing sophomores and freshmen on varsity, or perhaps playing some guys in different positions from what they are used to.”