|Senior leadership key for team|
|Written by Todd Marver, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 26 June 2012 18:03|
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The current Illinois State football seniors have not fallen victim to the words of this George Santayana quote, as they are learning from and acting upon their elders’ mishaps.
An NCAA rule prohibits the ISU football players from working with their coaches out on the field until training camp begins in early August. However, the senior team leaders have taken it upon themselves to organize summer activities in the meantime, which has not always been the case in the Redbird football program. A lack of team leadership when the current senior class came in as freshmen led to a shortage of team activities in the summer.
“Honestly when we first got here there was no leadership on the team,” senior wide receiver Tyrone Walker said. “We had seniors, but we didn’t have any senior leadership. Over the years, we have gotten more leadership on the field. Our senior class is full of leaders and that’s what gets us through the 7-on-7s.”
The Redbirds participate in 7-on-7 workouts three times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays around 4:00 p.m. with all positions minus the offensive and defensive lines. While the linebackers, defensive backs, wide receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks compete in 7-on-7s, the lines are off on their own working on position-specific skills. The football squad has also been working on strength and conditioning and participating in individual workouts this summer in addition to 7-on-7s.
“We compete against each other and learn about 30 plays total [in 7-on-7s],” senior linebacker Evan Frierson said. “Basically right now we are just lifting, getting ready for camp, and looking forward to the season. It’s about time we get the respect we deserve.”
The 7-on-7s help the Redbird football squad stay ahead of the curve and eliminate extra work they would have to put in during training camp in August. The more work the players are able to put in on their own, the more prepared they are when it comes time to get together with the coaches. This way the players are able to work on what is most important when they get together with the coaches and not spend extra time on the work they have already done on their own.
“The 7-on-7s help out a lot because usually when camp starts people will be out of sync,” Frierson said. “The 7-on-7s get you down with the coverage part because if you’ve been working on coverages all summer then you come out at camp and shouldn’t have any broken coverages. It gives you a head start for camp and as far as the offense, 7-on-7s help with the short passing game and things like that to work on what they want to do during the season.”
As it is their first ever Redbird football experience, this initial summer period is especially helpful for incoming freshmen and transfers. The newcomers get acquainted with one another and the rest of the team as well as start to get a first-hand taste of what it is like to play football at this level in the ISU program.
“The seniors don’t really introduce themselves to the newcomers,” Walker said. “Out of respect for the seniors they should already know who we are, but they do introduce themselves. As far as getting them on the field, if they need to play now it’s a way to help them learn. But if they’re not a necessity to get on the field right now, they’re just getting a feel for the game.”
Player-led activities continue through Aug. 4 when the players are permitted to get together with the coaches for the start of training camp. Camp lasts two weeks and culminates with the Red-White scrimmage Aug. 18.