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Football teams can only do but so much the first few days of fall practice.

Due to the AHSAA restrictions and heat acclimation, teams are limited to just putting on shorts and helmets for the first two days before moving to shells on Day 3. But that hasn’t changed what Dadeville is looking for, as the Tigers will always concentrate on basics and fundamentals on the opening days of practice.

“We’re focusing on getting it done right,” said Dadeville coach Richard White as he watched his players run drills Tuesday evening. “Like right there, we just blew an assignment right there. We just have to watch these guys and make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. (Monday) we got better as we went through stuff. The first few reps were terrible then it got better.”

That’s exactly what the Tigers want to see as they are just over two weeks away from opening their season at home on a Thursday night against Horseshoe Bend on Aug. 22. But until then, there’s still a lot to improve on. 

White, as an old school football coach who has been in this business for a long time, will likely never be satisfied with the basics of what his defense needs to do to keep its team in ballgames.

“We gotta work on tackling,” White said. “We need to work on that when we get some shoulder pads on — blocking and tackling. It’s just the basics of football.”

White was pleased with the energy the Tigers brought to the practice field especially on the first day. Like most teams, Dadeville’s first few days of practice are just an extension of what it has been doing all summer.

The Tigers start with individual drills before moving to position work and special teams then capping off each day with team stuff. And although that’s a lot of what they’ve been doing throughout the summer, the first day of practice did seem to bring about a new energy.

“No doubt we had a lot more energy,” White said. “(Monday) was really, really good. There was a lot of first-day excitement and jumping around. The kids were excited about being here so hopefully that translates into working hard and winning.”

There’s still a lot of questions that need answered though. White said most of the starting lineup is figured out but there are still some battles going on for starting jobs especially on the offensive line. He also said this fall preseason is about developing depth. Although Dadeville expects to have about 45 on the roster, which is a good number especially compared to last year, there are going to be several people playing both offense and defense.

“We probably got an idea of who are quarterback is going to be and an idea of who our starting running back is going to be, but we just have to find those other two guys that have to go in (at running back),” White said. “One guy is not going to get 20 or 30 carries a game. We need to spread it out and keep them fresh because they’re going to play both sides of the ball.” 

But all in all, White has been satisfied with his team’s efforts and how far the players have come at this point in the preseason.

“We worked a lot this summer on throwing and putting our offense in, so I think we’re about where we need to be right now,” White said. “We’ll start stressing these guys first of next week a little more. Right now we’re just trying to get the basics more then next week we’ll have a little more situations thrown at them.”  

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.