The Stetson football team will conclude its second week of training camp with a scrimmage on Saturday morning at the Athletics Training Center. The scrimmage is scheduled for a 9 a.m. start.
The scrimmage will come at the end of what was a grueling week of work for the Hatters. With high temperatures and humidity, the Stetson team had three two-a-day practices, but it was the days with single sessions that proved to be the toughest.
“The two-a-days actually aren’t so bad because the practices are shorter and it hasn’t been as hot,” head coach Roger Hughes said. “The one-a-day practices have been really tough because they are in the heat of the afternoon. We purposely scheduled them for the afternoon because that is when most of our games will be played. With heat indexes over 100 degrees, I thought the kids handled it well.”
The heavy work load through the week has helped the coaches begin the process of building a depth chart for the season. Finding all of the right guys to fit onto that chart, especially with strict travel limits for road games, will be a primary focus on Saturday.
"The scrimmage is going give us a lot of evaluation," Hughes said. "We have made some preliminary evaluations of the team. We have also told the team that the travel squad is 56 and guys are fighting to get on that list. This is going to be a big step toward solidifying the two-deep."
Much of the reason the two-deep has been slow to evolve is that the team did not come into camp in great shape, meaning valuable practice has been devoted to conditioning. The second by-product of conditioning is that several players who are expected to be major contributors have missed time with nagging injuries.
“We didn’t come into camp in great shape and we are paying the price with nagging injuries that have kept out some of the kids that we think have a chance to be really good,” Hughes said. “They just haven’t practiced that much, and that is pretty frustrating when you are trying to figure out what kind of team you are going to be and what you are going to do on both sides of the ball when you don’t have the guys you think will help you do it.
“We have to solidify, if not our first line players, certainly our backups. Once you get past the two-deep, which is 44 players, you can only take 56 on the road. You have to find those special teams guys and guys who will work into the depth chart.”
Hughes said one of the things they will look at during Saturday’s scrimmage is the offensive line. With the small travel squad size, they want to make sure the eight or nine linemen that travel can all play multiple positions.
Following Saturday’s scrimmage, the Stetson coaches want to give the players some time off, to rest and recover. With two-a-days behind them, and the start of fall classes looming on Thursday, the focus will begin to turn toward preparation for the opening game against Warner.
“Right now we have camp legs,” Hughes said. “We have been conditioning and pushing them pretty hard, and it has been hot and humid because it is Florida. We are going to try to taper off a little bit so that, over the next four or five days, their legs can get back under them a little and we can see where we are.
“We want to get their legs back so they can play fast.”
Season tickets for the return of Stetson football are still on-sale, but good seats are going fast. Visit www.gohatters.com/tix to order tickets or call 386-738-HATS to order by phone. There are also season mini-packs available that package the opening game with tickets to any one of four other regular season games at a discounted rate.
Fans can also follow the Hatters online via social media on the official Stetson Athletics Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/stetsonhatters) and through the Stetson Football Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/stetsonfootball). On Twitter, follow the Hatters @StetsonHatters @StetsonFootball and @JohnB_Stetson.
Fans should also remember to signup for Hat-Alerts, the official Stetson Athletics Text Messaging service at www.gohatters.com/text.
As the countdown clock continues to wind, also visit the Stetson Football A-to-Z Gameday Guide (www.gohatters.com/gameday) to get all the information you will need for making the 2013 Stetson football season successful.