Ready to play Calera spends week preparing for season opener

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series in which the Reporter will follow a Shelby County football team as it prepares for an upcoming game. A different team will be featured each week.

The Calera Eagles handily defeated the Verbena Red Devils a year ago 42-6.

That contest may not be as one-sided this time around, according to Eagles’ head coach Ken Adams.

&uot;Verbena has a new coach, and we don’t know that much about them,&uot; Adams said.

&uot;All we have to go by is last year and which players they have returning in which key roles.&uot;

Leading the Red Devils on the field this season is Mike Harris, no stranger to high school football. Harris coached at Chilton County High School for several years, including the 2002 season.

&uot;Since we don’t know that much about them, we have to prepare for everything,&uot; Adams said.

Sunday, 1 p.m.: In preparing for the unknown, the coaches begin the week on Sunday afternoon after church by watching film. Adams and assistants Scott Gafford, Ken Copen, Chris Marsh, Stephen Clark and Rick McClellan meet in the coaches’ office at 1 p.m. and hash through film until around 5 p.m.

The coaches have little film to look at with it being the first game of the season. Adams and staff look through Calera practice film and film from last year’s win over Verbena, as well as film from a jamboree played last week.

&uot;This is a week when not only the 11 guys starting on offense, defense and special teams have to know everything, but the backups have to prepare as well,&uot; Adams said. &uot;By looking through the film we are able to pick out what we need to work on in the coming days to be ready on Friday night.&uot;

Monday, 2:20 p.m.: Players file down to the weight room just behind the Calera campus for a seventh period workout period. During this time, linemen lift weights, including squats and bench press, while the backs and receivers work on plyometrics. This includes jumping boxes and running 40-yard sprints with parachutes. The drills help improve explosion and speed, Adams said.

Monday, 3:20 p.m.: The team is on the field at 3:20 and in pre-practice mode in full pads. The first drills worked on are kicking drills, including punting, extra points, field goals and kickoffs. Centers practice snaps, returners practice catching, kickers practice kicking and linemen catch up PAT and field goal kicks.

Also during this time quarterbacks receive 15 snaps from centers to work on center-quarterback snap exchange.

Monday, 3:30 p.m.: Stretching exercises begin at 3:30 and typically last 15-20 minutes. Coaches put extra emphasis on players being loose and limber as to lower the chances of players pulling a muscle or suffering another type injury.

Monday, 3:50 p.m.: Mondays are offensive days at Calera. The team works on drills which enhance offensive performance on the field on Friday nights. First, the Eagles work on kickoff returns and then extra point plays.

Monday, 4 p.m.: Water break.

Monday, 4:05 p.m.: The Eagles break into separate groups to work on each aspect of the offensive scheme. Quarterbacks work with Adams, running backs with Copen, Gafford and Clark work with the wide receivers and McClellan and Marsh take the offensive line and tight ends.

At this time, Adams runs his quarterbacks through steps and plays while Copen works with the running backs on hand-offs and ropes.

Wide receivers work on stance first followed by routes and the linemen work on stance, blocking schemes, chutes and drive the sled.

Also during this time the running backs and quarterbacks work together on pass plays and hand-offs.

Monday, 4:25 p.m.: Water break.

Monday, 4:30 p.m.: Quarterbacks, backs and wide receivers, as well as tight ends, work together on play recognition in each of the four offensive formations the Eagles will run in 2003. The group runs the same plays in each formation to work on timing.

During the same time, the offensive line goes through play recognition in each formation.

Monday, 4:50 p.m.: Water break.

Monday, 4:55 p.m.: The team comes together as a group and runs plays against the second team defense. During this time, Copen watches the backs, Marsh the offensive line, McClellan, Clark and Gafford work with the second team defense.

The defense lines up in both even and odd fronts to work the offense. During this time there is a lot of stoppage in play by the coaches to correct any mistakes being made, according to Adams.

Monday, 5:40 p.m.: The team must end the day with the offensive team scoring a touchdown against the second team defense &045; on one play, not a drive. If the offense scores and then misses the PAT, the team must score again on just one play and repeat until the PAT is good. The team then finishes with sprints.

Tuesday, 2:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Same schedule as Monday.

Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.: Tuesdays are defensive days at Calera High School in full pads. Gafford takes the linebackers, Marsh and McClellan the defensive ends and tackles, and Clark and Copen the secondary. Adams roams the field coaching in each aspect of the defense.

Each group works on their respective defensive drills.

Tuesday, 3:55 p.m.: Water break.

Tuesday, 4 p.m.: Team defense. The team comes together and runs defensive drills against the second string offense.

Tuesday, 4:45 p.m.: The special teams work on punt return plays it will run on Friday nights. The teams ends the day with sprints.

Wednesday, 2:20 p.m.: Seventh period on Wednesdays is used to watch film. Adams and the staff films the team on Monday and Tuesday at practice and uses this time to point out anything which needs improvement. Wednesdays the team works out in helmets, shoulder pads and thigh pads. All drills are ran with &uot;pop and lock&uot; contact where a full tackle is not made, but the coaches work on the proper tackle form.

Wednesday, 3:20 p.m.: The team goes through its normal pre-practice routine and then works on special teams situations.

&uot;Coach Clark does a great job with our special teams,&uot; Adams said. &uot;I think a lot of people forget how important special teams are until a PAT is missed during the game and you lose by one point.&uot;

The coaches next work with the players on offensive, defensive and special teams situations. Wednesdays are short due to it being a church night, with practice ending at 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, 2:20 p.m.: The team watches film during seventh period before going on the field in helmets and shorts.

Thursday, 3:30 p.m.: Stretching and warm-ups.

Thursday, 3:50 p.m.: The coaches call out the starting offense and let them run through plays. During this time backups shuffle in and out to make sure they know who to replace and where to go on the field. The same is then done with the offense and special teams. The offensive team then works the ball down the field, running different plays in preparation for Friday night’s opponent. Practice is ended with a PAT.

Next, the team and coaches head to the school’s cafeteria for a meal provided by the Calera High School Quarterback Club.

Game day, 2:20 p.m.: Pep rally in the gymnasium.

Game day, 3 p.m.: Meal in the school cafeteria then to the weight room for relaxation time.

Game day, 4:15 p.m.: Coaches do any taping of athletes in need while team members get uniforms prepared for the game.

Game day, 4:45 p.m.: The Eagles load the bus to make the trip to Verbena.

Game day, 6 p.m.: Pregame.

Game day, 7 p.m.: Kickoff