ROCKINGHAM — There was a different energy about the Richmond Senior football team when it walked onto the practice field Monday morning.
The Raiders have been preparing for the 2016 season since their summer workouts kicked off in June, but Monday’s practice marked the first official day of football season.
“I think the guys were excited about it being the first official practice,” said Steve Burdeau, team’s offensive coordinator. “Everbody was here, so that was a good thing to see. It was just a lot of energy and tempo going around.”
Burdeau saw the intensity pick up about halfway through practice when he broke the offense down into two teams and had them compete in what he calls a tempo-alignment drill.
To start the drill, everyone begins on the sideline. Once the whistle is blown, both teams race out to the line of scrimmage and try to get set before the other does. Whichever team lines up correctly first gets a point.
Neither team wanted to lose.
“We want to see how fast we can get from the sideline or put them in different situations to see how fast we can get ready for the next play,” Burdeau said. “We’re going to play as fast as we can during the season, so we’ve got to simulate that somehow. Us playing fast is one of the most important things in our offense, so it’s crucial.”
Another thing that is going to be key for Richmond is understanding the concept of going “1-0” — a concept that head coach Mike Castellano believes his team will undoubtedly benefit from.
“Regardless of the circumstance, if we have a bad play, we’ve got to go 1-0 the next play,” Castellano explained. “You win play-by-play. You don’t worry about 3 to 4 weeks down the road, you just worry about what you can control that day.”
And since the first game of the season is 17 days away, the Raiders aren’t too concerned about Rocky River at the moment. Castellano says the team is focusing on getting better every day and cleaning up its execution.
Making an effort to do those two things would bode well for team’s performance in its scrimmages next week.
Richmond will welcome Cleveland, Millbrook, Reagan, St. Pauls and Union Pines to the high school on Wednesday, Aug. 10, for a jamboree-like event at 10 a.m. On Aug. 12, however, the Raiders will be hosting an actual jamboree — giving the community a chance to watch some of the best players in state compete.
“We’ve got a little bit of time to do a lot of work, but it’s an exciting time because we’re preparing to go against somebody else — not just go against our own team,” Burdeau explained. “It’ll be great to see some other competition. We have some really good teams coming in next Wednesday and next Friday. We look forward to seeing some different stuff.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.