It’s the fourth year that West High has invited regional teams to attend and get full-contact varsity experience in advance of the regular season.
In all, West invited six teams – including Lathrop, Manteca, Franklin of Stockton, Ripon, and Pacheco of Los Banos – to three days of drills and scrimmages that give coaches a preview of their teams. The West High camp is an alternative to the college camps, Loggins said.
He knows for certain that he is going to have a relatively young team for the 2012 season, so he was look for those seniors who can provide leadership, and for the upcoming players who can adjust quickly to varsity-level football.
The only way to evaluate new players, including some seniors who didn’t play last year, is to put them in pads and helmets and see how they fare during three days of full-contact play.
“In football you can do things in T-shirt and shorts and run around and look good, but at the end of the day it’s about who wants to be a little more physical and courageous,” Loggins said.
It’s also the last major practice session that the Sac-Joaquin Section allows before teams go into the three-week “dead period” starting July 16. Between then and Aug. 6 no practice is allowed, but coaches can still run players through conditioning workouts.
“For the contact stuff, it allows our kids to get a taste of it, and when we get back in August for the fall camp we’re building off of it,” Loggins said.
Senior quarterback Bobby Landrum said his team needed a chance to learn strategies they didn’t use last year, including the wing-T offense.
“The new offense is hard to learn so this is helping us go against the better teams,” he said, adding that the other teams helped West quickly learn what would work and what wouldn’t work.
“Monday we were ready to hit, and we did really good yesterday (Tuesday), and hopefully we can do the same thing today and keep learning,” he said. “Every single team we’ve played so far is a good team, with good hitters on the team.”
Senior cornerback and running back Marius Williams said that the team started off slow on Monday and the scrimmages forced him and his teammates to get their focus back.
“As the days progressed we got better, especially today,” he said. “People stepped up. The seniors are good but the underclassmen stepped up too.”
Senior linebacker Amrit Singh, who didn’t play his junior year, said it reminds players of what’s in store come late August when games begin on Friday, Aug. 24, at home against Beyer of Modesto.
“We get to hit. We learn a lot. Going against other teams is really good,” he said. “I’ve been improving every day. I started off Monday not knowing a lot, and now I’m soaking it up.”
Team camps are a regular part of teams’ summertime schedule, with local teams usually opting for camps hosted by colleges. Tracy High’s team went to camp at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, and Kimball’s team went to Fresno State .
Loggins added that the motivation for the local camp, which West started four years ago, is to make it affordable enough to get all of his players to participate. He figures the college camps cost $300 or more per-player, while West’s camp costs $25 per player. He had 43 varsity players at the camp and 30 freshman and sophomore players at the camp.
“They’re young in football, and we’re happy to give them different looks playing against different opponents,” he said. “It’s nice to expose weaknesses in July and work on them the rest of the summer.”