It may seem hard to believe but the transition from summer to fall will begin this coming Monday afternoon when the Taft High football teams kick off their fall practice.
“Each year brings new and also some of the same challenges,” said second year head coach Jarudd Prosser.
This year though there will be a difference.
“Compared to last year we will have to be more physical on both sides of the ball,” said Prosser. “We have some players that seem to be hungry in turning the program around.”
Monday will be the start of two and a half weeks of straight practice culminating in a scrimmage at Porterville against Porterville, Washington Union and Granite Hills.
According to Prosser everyone should be fresh and excited heading into the start of practice.
Leading up to the scrimmage, the team will not prepare to face those teams or any other team. Instead, a different approach will be taken.
“The coaches want to see our guys compete always,” Prosser said of the scrimmage. “If we get punched in the mouth, we need to punch back. Game speed and quality reps can be an issue at practice so having a scrimmage helps.”
In between the first day of practice and the scrimmage, Prosser says the coaches will be focused on teaching the fundamentals.
“They can never be practiced enough or overlooked,” he said. “Put simply, blocking and tackling."
One thing the team will not be doing during that span is prepare for Golden Valley, their first opponent of the season which will take place Friday, Aug. 30 in Bakersfield.
“We will approach it like a normal week,” Prosser said of the game against Golden Valley.
“We will get video of their scrimmage Friday or Saturday, coaches will develop our game plan over the weekend and the players will receive their game plans Monday of Golden Valley week.”
While fall practice starts Monday, the players got some work in over the summer with the passing league.
“(The) passing league helps the offensive skill guys start to develop a little chemistry and defensively it helps with teaching our players their responsibilities against the pass in our various coverages,” said Prosser.
Prosser felt there was a difference in the team as the passing league progressed.
“We felt that the confidence level as a team grew each week,” he said.
“Passing league is a good place to break in new players to aide them in the transition to varsity.”
Page 2 of 2 - Another help over the summer was the speed and strength camp strictly for the football players.
“Andrew Matthews, Andrew Le Clair and Christian Ramirez from the Rec put together a great speed and strength program for the entire program over the summer,” said Prosser.
“All of the coaches are excited to see the benefits to those players that bought in and committed themselves to the program. There should be a noticeable difference to those athletes.”
The scrimmage in Porterville will take place Thursday, Aug. 22, with the freshmen and junior varsity starting at 5 while the varsity starts at 6:30 p.m.