Panthers begin football practicePublished 8:09pm Thursday, August 1, 2013
PINETOWN — Looking to beat that heat and the competition, the Northside Panthers football team kicked off the 2013 season with an early morning practice session on Thursday and coach Keith Boyd said that the atmosphere was a positive one.
The Panthers had a decent number of athletes turn out for the first day of practice and Boyd said he expects more to show up in the near future.
“We’re really excited,” Boyd said. “Our numbers were in the 30s today but we know we got another 12 or 15 that are out of town or still working. But, we’re excited about it and are hoping that are numbers will be somewhere in the 40s.”
Boyd said the goal from now until the sixth day of practice, when the team can don pads, is to work on physical conditioning and lay down the basics of the offense and defense.
“(On Thursday) we did a lot of stuff in the weight room and worked on our conditioning. Then we did about an hour on offense and an hour on defense. We were able to get into more of the football stuff than what we normally do during the summer,” Boyd said. “What we want to do right now is teach the fundamentals of stuff like tackling and blocking without actually being able to touch people. If you teach the fundamentals now you hope it will carry over and then once we start tackling and hitting the proper techniques will already be taught.”
Last year the Panthers featured a young team that went 6-8, but should be ahead of the curve this summer as many of those athletes are returning for another season.
“Last year we were young but we’re hoping to be old this year,” Boyd said. “But, you’re at the mercy of different things, we had three or four starters that moved away. But, we’re going to have some good senior leadership. Our numbers should be big as far as seniors go.”
Having a large number of upperclassmen can have an extremely positive effect on the team this time of year and Boyd said he is banking on them to lead the way this summer.
“That’s big because if they are true leaders than they can turn into extra coaches for you because they can help teach the younger kids,” Boyd said. “Every now and then you will see an older kid pull a younger kid to the side and say ‘this is what the coach is talking about’ or ‘you didn’t do this quite right.’ That’s what you’re hoping to see.”