Concentrating on competition
La PORTE — Every Indiana high school football team is given 16 days of practice prior to the season opener.
For La Porte, it focuses on internal competition, striving to make the team better by pushing each other.
It’s that competition which Slicers coach Dave Sharpe said he most relishes in the first week of practice, which started last Monday.
“The kids who know I have a chance to start, but I’ve got to beat out ‘that’ guy,” Sharpe said. “That’s what makes it fun, especially when you can kind of match those two or three guys up together in the same drill and kind of figure out, ‘Who can you trust on Friday nights, and who needs to play JV?’”
At the same time, he added the main objective of the opening week of practice is to have healthy competition.
“We have a lot of competition,” Sharpe said. “We have no idea who’s going to start against New Prairie in quite a few spots. And we still don’t. And we probably won’t until the Tuesday or Wednesday of the New Prairie week. So that’s been the best. We are deep enough to have some true competition at numerous positions, so that’s a good thing.”
La Porte football players participated in the first official week of practice last week at Kiwanis Field. The first two weeks of practice the team alternates two-a-day practices and one-a-day practices.
So far, Sharpe and the coaches have been fairly pleased with the squad’s progress.
“Practices have gone very well,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of high energy. We’ve had high-energy practices. The kids know what they’re expected to do. Having a ton of June and July contact with the kids helps out a lot. So we feel like we’re ahead of schedule right now.”
The team had 12 total contact days in the two summer months, four in June and eight in July.
“It helps with kind of putting in plays, offensive plays and defensive plays, doing a lot of the X’s and the O’s,” Sharpe said. “Now that that stuff’s all in, we can really focus on technique.”
He added nothing really surprised him in the opening week of practice, saying the seniors especially get a feel for how the week goes.
“They know there’s a lot of practice time, there’s also a lot of film time, and a lot of meeting time. They know it’s just as mentally exhausting as it is physically exhausting.”
The Slicers travel to Plymouth for a scrimmage on Friday at 6 p.m. CDT. La Porte’s season opener is at New Prairie on Friday, August 17, at 7 p.m. CDT.
Last year, the Slicers finished 7-4, their fourth straight winning season, and fell in the sectional final to county nemesis Michigan City, 38-10.