Football practice was all about effective time management Tuesday.
When the Flowery Branch High football team ended practice early due to repeated tornado warnings throughout Hall County, Falcons coach Lee Shaw used the down-time to study film and hold a team meeting rather than waste precious time in the last week before their first game.
"We have to be flexible and not panic," Shaw said.
Once Shaw was able to use the gym after the tornado warnings expired, he molded the practice into one as similar to an outdoor experience as possible in full pads and shortened passing drills.
"We slowed it down a bit, so it was a good mental practice," Shaw said. "The gym was packed though."
With opening night only two days away, coaches are taking every opportunity they can get to tweak their teams to perfection before playing their first game. But with weather interfering with many teams’ practices, that preparation time is getting cut short.
"You have to hope that everything you did during the summer will hold you over until Friday," Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said. "Now is the time to polish things, but we only got 10 minutes on the field today."
For the rest of practice, the Red Elephants were in the gym, practicing running and basic defensive plays. Once Hall County was placed under a tornado warning, they stayed in their locker room until weather permitted them to leave. "You’re limited to what you can do inside," Miller said.
While coaches typically run practices in the rain, they will take their team inside if the weather becomes severe, usually when thunder and lightning occurs.
"Safety always comes first," said White County coach Gregg Segraves, who was also forced inside by a tornado warning and flooding. "We’re not going to take any chances."
Whether the missed opportunities to practice will effect teams by the end of the week is up to the players, according to Shaw.
"I think we have enough veterans to pick up where we left off," he said. "We have several seniors and I don’t have any doubts."
But with more rain in the forecast, including Friday night, coaches can only hope the last four months of summer training remains concrete for players.
"We’re still having a good practice," Segraves said as his players completed drills in the gym. "We’re feeling really good about preparation for the season."