Quarterback Jake Todd runs the ball in the direction of Head Coach Brent Bush during drills. (TONY STINNETT photo)
Midnight Madness is generally a term reserved for the start of basketball season as teams endure late-night opening practices.
The Cannon County football team borrowed a page from the script when it hit the field for the start of official football practice Monday at 12:01 a.m.
“This is something that has worked other places and we decided to try it here this year,” said Brent Bush, Cannon County’s first-year head coach. “It is mainly team building and getting them away from their cell phones long enough to work together as a team. We wanted to stress them out a little bit.”
In that case the mission appeared to be a success as players endured the first day, uh, early morning, of practice in pads.
Just more than 30 team members took the field for practice in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) from 9-11:30 p.m. After a short recess the players returned to the field for a midnight practice that lasted until 2:30 a.m.
The Lions slept at the field house, woke up for breakfast at 6 a.m., and were back on the field for a 7 a.m. workout. They slept from 10-to-2 p.m. and returned to the field at 3 p.m. for another two-plus hours workout.
The players went through a series of physical drills during the midnight practice as a handful of parents watched to the sound of upbeat music.
“The practice under the lights was good and spirited because it was different and new,” senior Ryan McLaurine said. “We were all excited about that but the (Monday) morning practices were somewhat sluggish compared to the night before.”
Bush said mental fatique was a welcome site early in camp.
“It was tough on them getting up Monday morning and starting again,” Bush said. “They are having a tough time mentally. The goal is to make them tired and make them think when they are tired so it just becomes muscle memory out there.”
Bush said the plan next year is to take the Lions off campus for a team camp at the start of practice.
“We wanted to do that this year but we just couldn’t afford it so we came up with this instead,” Bush said. “The big thing is team building and this was good from that standpoint.”