There are just some weeks in a football team’s preparation for its upcoming season that are more important than others.
You would think for head coach Oscar Glasscock’s first Arab team, the first week of preseason or the week before the opener against Boaz would be those kind of weeks. And they still might be.
But for right now, this week is perhaps the most important one yet for the 2018 Arab football team.
When the head coach himself says so, it’s hard not to take him seriously.
Coach O’s first squad laid a lot of ground-work during spring drills, but mainly it was the players and coaches getting to know one another and the coaches laying out the basic plan the players will follow, both on offense and defense.
Sure, there was plenty of evaluating going on, but as far as pure practice getting ready for a football game, that was put on the backburner in many respects.
That changed the first week of June but it hit high intensity this week. It started with a spirited 7-on-7 at Albertville on Tuesday and continues today with a special shared practice session with Center Point, at Center Point.
The Class 6A Eagles and their head coach, George Bates, share something in common with Arab and Glasscock. This will be Bates’ first season at Center Point, which is coming off a losing season (1-9) under Shawn Gregory, who was 1-19 in two years at the helm.
Bates spent one unsuccessful season at 5A Woodlawn last year (1-9) after three successful seasons at 6A Minor (26-11). He and Glasscock view today’s shared practice similarly.
“We want to work together to get better,” Glasscock said.
To that end, today’s work will include more than just practice and 7-on-7 type activity. There will be a mock game that will include each side’s specialty teams working against the other’s specialty teams.
“When we kick off or punt, we’ll be working on that and Center Point will be working on receiving the kickoff or punt and returning it,” Glasscock explained. “When we’re kicking off, we’ll work on filling the right lanes and things like that.
“I think it will be more effective than doing the same thing against a scout team. They have the same goal that we do. We just want to keep getting better in all aspects of the game.”
Today will be different in other ways. After practice, the players from both sides will go out into the community together and pick up trash. Afterward, there will be a cook-out that will include a couple of speakers.
Bates has promoted the event locally, and Glasscock said there likely be TV crews from one or more Birmingham TV stations there to cover the activities.
“I think there will be a lot of media interest in this,” he said.
Glasscock has another mock game planned, against a team that also runs the Wing-T offense, Mars Hill. There are also team activity days scheduled at Mortimer Jordan and Douglas, the latter likely to focus on junior varsity and ninth grade players, at least on Arab’s side.
After taking off last week for the Fourth of July holidays – a tradition in Arab athletics – the team also will take off next week for the AHSAA summer conference and all-star games. After that, it’s two more weeks of summer workouts before preseason practice begins.
Yes, it’s that close. In fact, team and individual photos will be taken on July 24. The first day of preseason workouts will be Aug. 6 Opening night, against Boaz at home in the new stadium, is just 44 days away.
Is everybody ready?