Fort Dale football program takes new approach

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2004

Fort Dale Academy’s football program underwent several changes last season.

The Eagles’ coaching staff didn’t stop there and implemented more this year.

For the first time since James &uot;Speed&uot; Sampley took over the reigns as head coach at FDA, the football team endured two days of four-a-day practices.

The Eagles began practice last Thursday morning at 7 a.m. and continued until 8:30 a.m. when they retired to the film room. Players resumed practice at 10 a.m. and were released for lunch at noon.

Practice resumed at 2 p.m. and continued until 3:30 p.m. when players once again retired to the film room. FDA’s fourth practice was held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. when they were released for a hamburger supper, which was provided for them.

Every player on the Eagles’ roster spent the night in classrooms above the field house Thursday night and was up and at it again Friday morning for 7 a.m. practice.

&uot;It went fine,&uot; Sampley said. &uot;I was really surprised that we held up as well as we did. We did a lot of conditioning over the summer. We started a running program that is specifically designed for football.&uot;

Players began two-a-day practices Monday morning.

Last season, Sampley placed his players on a strict strength-training program, the same program the Nebraska Cornhuskers use. This season, he implemented a sprinting program.

Every day, players must run 63, consecutive sprints, which include one 100-yard sprint, two 60-yard sprints, four 40-yard sprints, eight 20-yard sprints, 16 10-yard sprints and 32 five-yard sprints.

&uot;It pretty much symbolizes what you do when you play a football game,&uot; Sampley said. &uot;Most of the time you only run four or five yards on a play. It’s very rare somebody runs 60 yards in a game. It’s been really good for conditioning.&uot;

Sampley also said the program has grown with upperclassmen. He said the Eagles will field 51 varsity players this season.

&uot;That’s the most we’ve ever had,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve dressed more than 60 with ninth graders, but we have 51 tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders.&uot;

With such a large number of experienced players, Sampley said it’s easier to run drills and still give players adequate rest.

&uot;If you’re running a drill that requires a whole offense and defense, that’s 22 players, and if you have more than that standing there, so we’re constantly changing one group to the next,&uot; Sampley said. &uot;Realistically, they run two out of every four plays, so they’re getting some rest in practice.&uot;

The Eagles will host Sparta Academy at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 in their opening game of the 2004 football season.