CRESTVIEW — High school football teams across Florida, in preparation for the 2014 season, officially open preseason camp on Aug. 4.
But at Crestview High School, as is the case at most schools, the Bulldogs have been working throughout the summer to prepare for the official first day.
Second-year Bulldog coach Tim Hatten said the team is right on track heading into the final three weeks of summer drills.
“We are about normal,” he said. “In July you want to get everybody into camp and make sure you’ve got people that are showing up, learning some different things and trying to expand on what you did the year before because their knowledge base has increased.
“It will increase this year, it will increase next year and it will increase the next year. The kids have advanced light years since I’ve had them. They are able to do so many things offensively, and it challenges defenses and it challenges offenses to be able to do the things we do on defense.”
After spending more than a decade coaching junior college football, it’s a nice change for Hatten to have players four years.
“I’ve never had a kid more than two years in the last 11 years,” he said. “It’s kind of exciting to know we are going to have these kids that are 10th- and 11th-graders three or four years to learn the system.”
Hatten said the Bulldogs have played some 7-on-7 games and he will try to get them a few more of the passing games before fall camp starts, but he doesn’t put as much stock on the passing games as some of his coaching colleagues.
“They (7-on-7 games) are good,” he said. “They’ve got a purpose and value to different programs and different coaches, but they just don’t have a lot of value to me. We don’t get all fired up in those rah, rah competitions of 7-on-7 that are usually glorified fundraisers.
“That’s just not something we do. And the last time I checked, we didn’t play touch football.”
With the final days of summer drills winding down, Hatten’s biggest concern is keeping players healthy.
“If we can just stay healthy, keep moving forward (increasing knowledge), keep having good attendance and kids showing up and staying interested, that’s the main thing,” he said.
“Football will take care of itself in August. It always does.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.