Meridian Star

Sports

June 19, 2014

Enterprise workouts helping teach players team concept

ENTERPRISE — As the Enterprise High School football players lie on the weight room’s floor, holding their legs and arms above their heads for core workouts, each one is hoping he’s not the one to mess things up.

If one person drops either their arms or legs during the 20-second countdown, everyone has to start over.

“It makes me mad,” sophomore defensive back Derrick Moore said. “We want to win, and the people who aren’t (holding position), they aren’t giving enough effort.”

It’s just another early morning for the Bulldogs’ players during their summer football workouts. The players go through strength and conditioning drills on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 to 9 a.m., and Wednesday’s activities were capped off with the core workouts that required each player to be in sync.

“The people who are making us restart, I really just want them to get better,” senior safety/tight end Cameron Stephens said. “When people drop before the 20 seconds are up, it lets the team down.”

Bulldogs head coach Kelly Jimmerson said the core workouts are an excellent lesson in teamwork, something the players will have to understand by the time Friday nights in the fall roll around.

“In football, there are 11 on the field, and if one guy doesn’t get the job done, it’s a play for a loss or a bad play,” Jimmerson explained. “If one guy falters, the whole team pays for it.”

The coaches split the skill players and linemen up into two groups, with each one alternating between the weight room and doing sleds, agility drills and pulling tires on the field each workout.

“We’re trying to build strength and get our conditioning in, so that when we show up in August, we’re not behind,” Jimmerson said.

The early hours take their toll on the players, however, even seniors like Stephens who have done it several summers in a row.

“You never get used to it,” he Stephens said. “It’s a struggle Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

After taking part in summer workouts last year, Moore said he’s slowly become acclimated to the demands of playing football at Enterprise.

“Last we we did the same thing, and it was kind of hard, but it’s getting easier this year,” Moore said.

Jimmerson said the early start time is a test of sorts to see which players show themselves to be dedicated to the team. He also said he’s looking to teach his team something that could help them down the road in life.

“It teaches accountability of being on time and getting up early, just like they will have to do when they leave here one day and have a job,” Jimmerson said.

“The whole point is to find out if they’re dedicated enough to get up and have their worst part of the day here. Hopefully, for them, the worst thing that will happen to them today is having to get up and go work out for three hours.”

Moore said he understands the importance of what the coaches are doing during the summer.

“This is what our season depends on,” he said. “We have to get stronger. If we come in and try our best and give it our all, it will pay off on the field.”

For Stephens, there’s the added pressure of setting a good example for the younger players.

“All the underclassmen look up to us, so we have to put out a good example,” Stephens said. “If the freshmen and sophomores have no one to look up to, we have nothing to strive toward.”

So far, Jimmerson said he’s been pleased with player turnout. Each player is afforded three missed workouts without penalty to allow for family trips and church camps. Any time missed at football camps aren’t counted against the players. Out of 48 players, the most they’ve missed on one day is eight, Jimmerson said, and they’ve been averaging above 80 percent each day.

“Whenever you get 40 out of 48 on average, I’m pleased,” he said. “It shows dedication and sacrifice.”

After back-to-back 2-9 seasons, Jimmerson said his players and fellow coaches are ready to see a turnaround.

“This is a group of kids who are genuinely excited about football,” he said. “I’m excited about them, but potential will get you beat. It means nothing if you don’t build on it. Right now, they’re ready (to win). It’s time for a turnaround.”

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