| By Myra Bean
Though it has been a month since the spring jamboree, the North Delta football players have not been sitting around doing nothing.
Head coach Richard Russo opens up the field house four days a week for the players to come in, work out and get conditioned for the fall season.
The field house is open 7 to 10 a.m. every weekday except Wednesday. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening from 4 to 7 the field house is open again. The players are only allowed to work out an hour per day.
In addition to the workouts , Russo and assistant coaches Brad Wilson and David Hardy and volunteer coach Adam Waldrup, are alternating upper body/speed and lower body/endurance workouts.
That is not all. In addition to the workouts, the players can participate in team specific drills.
"One night we had offensive line drills," Russo said. "This week we will do nothing but defensive line, linebacker drills. Next week will be kicking drills. We are really breaking it down and trying to teach them things."
On Thursday nights in June North Delta holds a 7-on-7 situation which is passing and defending the pass.
The players have to set their own goals for working out, according to Russo. He gave them a schedule and a reward level.
"You have to get 10 (workouts) to be on the team with no suspension," Russo said. "Once you get 15, 20, 25 and 30, you get rewards. That encourages kids to come out, give up their summer, give up their time."
With these workouts, Russo said he is getting to see the players throughout the summer and helping them become better football players.
"If we have to give them a name on the back of their jerseys to do that, that’s all great," he said. "I don’t see a problem with that. Kids giving up their summertime deserve to be awarded. I’m getting the benefit because my team’s going to be better."
Some awards to be given at the end of the season are the Practice Player of the Year and the Lifetime Captain of the Year.
The coaches will chose the Practice Player of the Year like they chose the players to receive the Brandon Presley Memorial Award for the outstanding player of the spring season.
"I think it is very important to recognize a player who may not start offense or defense but busts his butt every day in practice and make you a better team," Russo said. "This is someone who gives up his body every day in practice for the betterment of the team. People in the stands on Friday nights don’t see that player who busts his butt in practice."
The players will choose an offensive, defensive and special teams player to receive the Lifetime Captain of the Year Award.
"To me this is the highest honor you can receive as a Green Wave football player," Russo said. "Nobody but the players in that locker room votes on the lifetime captains. A lot of times coaches will see a player one way and the players will see them totally different. To be voted by your teammates as a lifetime captain is a big honor.
"In order for someone to vote for you as lifetime captain, you must be a team guy." Russo added. "I would never vote for some body who tries to tear apart the team."
Since the spring jamboree, the coach and team have watched the film over and over again, according to Russo.
Russo said they saw some problems with the offensive line.
"We have to really understand what a block is," he said. "We have to understand what it means to down block, what it means to zone block. We weren’t real clear about that going into the game and it showed on film. We had several blocking assignments that were not correct."
Conditioning was also a concern coming out of spring practice.
"I only had them for four weeks," he said. "We are hitting that hard this summer so that when fall camp rolls around, we will be in a lot better shape. That will make us a better football team."
Russo could do nothing but compliment the effort of the team during the spring.
"I thought our effort was good," he said. "Anytime your effort is good, that is a great things. That means our kids are working hard and I can’t complain about our effort.
"I gave spring an overall A," Russo added. "I’m not saying we are an A offense or an A defense. I’m saying the effort, enthusiasm and attitude were
Russo would like to take the team to camp, but feels since this is his first year, they need to concentrate on themselves.
"I am encouraging kids to go on their own," he said. "This summer we have three kids going to the Manning Passing camp in Louisiana first week in July, one sophomore and two freshmen."
Russo said he has learned what he basically knew coming into his first head coaching job is that he has to wear a "million hats."
"It’s great and I love every minute of it," he said. "It’s all about building relationships with players, assistant coaches, faculty, the parents, the community. I have been doing that as an assistant coach but it’s at another level."