Marysville High School’s Richard Neeson punts the ball during a drill this morning. The Monarchs, along with high school football teams throughout the state, opened the first day of preseason practice. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
Preseason practices began today for high school football teams throughout the state of Ohio.
The Marysville Monarchs hit the field at 7 a.m. and went through to 12:30 p.m.
It’s a schedule the team will adhere to for the next few weeks.
“We just go all the way through with one session,” said Monarch head coach Brent Johnson. “We don’t conduct two-a-day practices per se.”
Marysville’s gridders took last week off for the Union County Fair.
Prior to that, they went through two weeks of summer camp.
Those sessions were used in order for the Monarchs to hit the ground running at the start of today’s preseason.
“We put in most of our offensive plays and defensive schemes during our camp,” said Johnson. “We still have a few things to add, but for the most part, we installed everything earlier this summer.
“That was really big for us,” he said. “We began preseason practices this morning with a lot of reps that will become habits.
“We know who we are,” said Johnson. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel… we’re going to do what we do best.”
The Monarchs were in pads and helmets, beginning today.
They will be permitted to start hitting on Thursday.
Johnson was pleased with how well the summer camp went.
“The last three days of camp were probably our best,” he said. “The younger guys really learned just how fast varsity football is played.”
Speaking of speed, that’s what Johnson is looking for during the preseason.
“I’m looking for tempo,” he said. “I want all of our guys to play hungry and fast.
“It doesn’t matter if they make mistakes during practices,” said the coach. “We can correct those as we go along.
“Going halfway, however, just won’t cut it.”
The Monarchs, for a number of years, have been a team that has predominately kept the football on the ground out of their Wing-T offense.
However, they are going to be looking to put the ball in the air more often during the upcoming campaign.
Johnson said that will help take some of the pressure off the ground attack.
The Monarchs will also use the preseason to fill in spots left vacant by graduations.
“We’ve got some open line positions and also in the defensive secondary,” said Johnson. “We’re going to have some young guys on both sides of the ball, but we’ve got very good competition going on to fill those spots.”
As with any summer practices, the Monarch coaching and training staffs will guard against any heat problems that may pop up.
“We always take precautions if it’s extremely hot, like it was during our summer camp,” said Johnson.
“We’ll have ice baths available after practice and Darren (Clancy) and Ashley (Dutcher), our trainers, always look after us very well.
“We also talk to the guys about taking fluids.”
Although the team will take all necessary precautions to keep athletes safe, the Monarchs really don’t dwell on weather conditions.
“We don’t care if it’s 50 degrees or 150,” Johnson chuckled. “We just continue to go, which is what I like about Marysville kids… they’re tough and resilient.”