“This first week has been exciting,” said Fontenot, who took over for former CHS coach Tommy Tate. “It has been a little more chaotic than I thought it would be, but it’s good. Everything that’s happening is good.
“The kids have shown up ready to go and they’re excited. I think everybody in the state is excited about football right now and that’s how it’s supposed to be. There’s nothing different here and we’re ready to roll.”
Preparations for the upcoming season got under way Monday, although the first official practice really begins tomorrow (Monday), August 6. However, teams have this last optional week to get in conditioning work but they are limited to workouts in shorts and helmets.
“It was good to get started,” said Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook, who gave his squad off Friday after four days of practice. “Usually after Fourth of July goes by, you start getting a little antsy and ready to get going.”
The start of August camp is a welcomed site for the players of both Crowley High and Notre Dame, who went through a rugged slate of summer workouts and 7-on-7 pass drills.
For those players, practice only gets better as teams will be allowed to work out in shoulder pads and helmets beginning on Monday before going to full pads on Aug. 9.
“We are limited in the fact that we can’t wear pads during the first week, but this is no different than what we did all summer,” said Fontenot, whose team will travel to Beau Chene for a scrimmage on Aug. 17. “We basically did what we did all summer this week.
“Next week we can wear shoulder pads and that’s pretty much how we practice. For one, to save our legs, and, two, just because of depth. If we go with just shoulder pads, it tends to keep kids up and that helps save legs and save injuries. You can get everything you need done in just shoulder pads.”
But on Thursday, for the players at least, the real fun begins.
“The kids are ready to start banging around,” said Fontenot. “They are ready to start hitting and beating each other up.”
Regardless of the attire, the first two weeks of training camp is essential for installing new packages so when the pads are donned, everyone is on the same page.
“This is a good time to put in all your stuff because, obviously, you’re not going to hit,” said Cook, whose team will play its annual scrimmage at St. Thomas More on Aug. 16. “It gives you time to rehearse everything. We’ve got special teams all done and we were able to install a lot of offensive and defensive alignments. You are limited a little bit, but I still thought we were able to get a lot done.”
Fontenot was also able to get a lot of work in during his first week of practice.
“This past week was really just learning the routine,” said Fontenot. “And we did a lot of that this summer. So now, when we got here, we’re game planning. For us, this is the first two weeks of working on Patterson. We’re treating this as a game week.
“And the other thing with the first two weeks of camp is making sure our special teams are as good as they can be. You can never get where you need to be unless you practice it live, and we’ll do that, but the first week for sure, we’re going to get everything sharp and make sure our personnel is in the right place.”
So far, both coaches are pleased with what they have seen out of their teams.
“I like where we are,” said Cook. “Compared to last year, we are really further ahead than where we were.
“It’s all about attitude and effort and so far that’s been good. If we can keep that headed in the right direction, we will have a chance to get better.”
Fontenot, who was the Gents’ offensive coordinator for the last two years, is also upbeat about what he has seen in the first week.
“I’m very excited about what I’ve seen,” said Fontenot. “The boys did a great job this week. They bought into what we’re tyring to do and I can not be happier with the way things went.”