Tigers grinding way toward season
LAGRANGE – The destination is in sight.
As the Troup Tigers reported for practice on a sweltering Wednesday afternoon, they did so knowing a new season is nearly here.
The Tigers are, in fact, just a little more than a week away from taking the field against another team for the first time.
Troup will visit Harris County on Aug. 12 for a preseason game, and then on Aug. 19, it will open the regular season with a road game against the Hardaway Hawks.
From a practice standpoint, this is a challenging week for the players.
It’s the first week of August, and that means the heat is going to be stifling, and this is also the week teams can begin holding full-contact practices.
This week, according to Troup High head coach Tanner Glisson, is all about pushing through, of surviving the grind.
“We’ll cool off a little bit next week, but we’ll grind it through the rest of this week, and get into a routine with school starting next week, and get ready for the game with Harris County,” Glisson said. “That’s kind of what we’re shooting for.”
The Tigers held a camp over the weekend, adding to the grind.
The players spent Sunday and Monday nights at the school, and they held two practices on Monday and Tuesday.
Glisson added that this week is also a challenge for the teachers since they’re returning to work.
“The first thing is, we came off of camp Sunday and Monday, and Tuesday morning,” Glisson said. “We practiced at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. So they packed a lot into 48 hours. And us teachers have been working real hard the last two days. We started back to work, and we were in meetings for eight hours yesterday straight. It gets us mentally tired. We’re trying to get into the routine, and still stay in shape, still be physical. It’s coming along.”
Glisson said the camp was a valuable experience, although teams are limited in what they can do because of GHSA regulations.
“With the rules now a days, camp’s not camp anymore,” Glisson said. “You have the physical limitations with the contact. It’s tough. But I’ll tell you what it did. We bonded well. And it was good for mental toughness. Those are two positives.”
Senior Jack Schweizer said beyond the football aspect of the camp, it was good for the players to spend a lot of time together.
“It was really beneficial for us, just being around each other, just being a team,” Schweizer said.
While the players are going at it hard, Glisson said he and the other coaches are always cognizent of the heat and the effect it can have.
The coaches watch out for players who may be struggling with the heat, and they’re always ready to offer assistance.
Glisson said there’s a plan in place in case one of the players has an issue with the heat, and that includes having a defibrillator on hand in case of an emergency.
“Our coaches are doing a good job of responding quickly, and knowing what to do,” Glisson said. “I tell them, I’d rather you over-react if something happens. And they do a good job.”
Practicing in the heat is unavoidable and necessary, and Schweizer said he and the other players make sure to stay hydrated.
“You have to drink all day, non-stop,” he said.
The Tigers will be back on the practice field today and Friday, and when Monday rolls around, they’ll be in game-week mode.
“We’re kind of in the rhythm now,” Glisson said. “We’ve got tunnel vision. Let’s get ready to go play.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports