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Panthers kick off preseason practice

By Kevin Eckleberry

kevin.eckleberry@lagrangenews.com

LAGRANGE – They’re off and running.

LaGrange College’s football team held its first practice session on Thursday afternoon, with dozens of players hitting the turf at Callaway Stadium under the watchful eyes of new head coach Steve Pardue.

The players reported on Wednesday, and there was going to be a practice session on the field at night, but those plans were scrubbed because of a storm.

It was still a productive day, as the players got moved in while also getting an opportunity to meet with the coaches.

“(Wednesday) was getting them all here, getting them settled in,” Pardue said.

On a steamy Thursday afternoon, Pardue guided the players onto the field for their first on-field practice in preparation for a season that begins on Sept. 2 against Birmingham Southern.

Pardue said it’s critical to take advantage of every moment he and the other players are allowed to work with the players.

“The difference in high school is Division III is the amount of time you’re around your kids,” Pardue said. “Our guys for the most part go home in the summer.

“So they get back on Aug. 9, and we play a game on Sept. 2. So we’ve got to utilize our time the best we can.”

That preparation time is particularly important considering the Panthers have a new head coach, as well as a new offensive system.

The Panthers will primarily be employing a Wing T, run-oriented offense after running the pass-happy Air Raid offense under previous head coach Matt Mumme.

One of Pardue’s long-time coaching colleagues, David Pleasants, will be the offensive coordinator.

Earl Chambers, a part of Mumme’s staff, remains as the defensive coordinator.

OF NOTE: For much more on LaGrange College football, see Saturday’s sports section.