LUMBERTON — For some local football coaches, the first of two dead periods mandated by the NCHSAA that takes place next week allows for some much-needed relaxation time for their staff and players.
For others, the break is an opportunity to see which of their athletes can properly carry on their conditioning routines without supervision.
No team activities may be conducted by coaches at any point next week, a stipulation that allows the players to have some freedom as they continue through a summer workout calendar that has included multiple 7-on-7 matchups and team workouts.
Here is how each team in the county is approaching the dead period.
Assistant coach Nick Vereene said the expectation is that the Golden Tornadoes will continue to work out as if they were still on a regular practice schedule.
“If you can, try to work with your homeboys and run routes,” Vereene said about what the coaches have been telling the team. “You can come to Lumberton or Bill Sapp (Recreation Center) and lift weights. Pushups, situps, anything. Just stay in shape.”
Having the opportunity to work out indoors is appealing for the Golden Tornadoes, according to Vereene.
“They are ready to get away from the workouts,” he said. “It’s the sun. They just hate being outside right now. It’s been hot.”
Head coach Kelly Williamson is encouraging his players to “get off the couch and do something” during the dead week.
“We just hope that they’ll at least get out and run some and lift some so they’re not dying next Monday,” Williamson said.
Entering his first season with the Pirates, Williamson said the dead period allows the players and coaches to take a step back after weeks of intense workouts.
“To get away from us is good,” he said. “We’ve been on them pretty good, so it’s good to give them a break.”
Getting in good enough shape to withstand workouts in the summer heat is a challenging process, and head coach Jon Sherman knows that what his players do during the dead week will either help or hinder it.
“We pray our kids are doing work on their own, doing their running and conditioning,” Sherman said. “When you miss that many days in the hot summer, you come back and you have to recondition all over again.”
While staying in shape is a priority for the team, the coaching staff also wants the athletes to enjoy their days off.
“Enjoy yourself on vacation too,” Sherman said. “I know I’ll be at the beach with my wife, but I’ll be thinking about these guys getting in shape.”
The dead week is partly a reward for a good start to summer workouts, according to head coach Lawrence Ches.
“They’ve been working super hard, so I want them to enjoy their time off,” Ches said. “They don’t get much of it. We practice every day, four hours a day.
“Enjoy your weeks off because when it’s not weeks off, we’re working.”
The Red Devils took a couple of trips to South Robeson for 7-on-7 matchups this week.
“They’re going to be ready to go,” Ches said.
After focusing on football early in the summer, head coach Clay Jernigan want the Mustangs to take their minds off of the sport during the dead week.
“I want them to enjoy the summer, be kids for the summer,” Jernigan said. “I don’t want them to think about no football, no weight training, I just want them to enjoy the summer. That’s all I want them to do. Be safe.”
Jernigan plans on applying the same mindset to his own life.
“I’ve been thinking football for 365 days,” Jernigan said. “Next week I ain’t thinking no football. It’s my wife’s time.”
The Bulldogs are in the middle of a coaching change after former head coach Ernest King took the same job at Westover earlier this week.
Former Lumberton head coach and current St. Pauls assistant Mike Setzer will reportedly take over King’s job on an interim basis, but no official announcement has been made as of Friday.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.