The old football maxim that the tougher the practices are the better off the team will be come game time has been questioned by some in recent years.
The new argument goes that with the year-round conditioning programs that college players go through, particularly in summer drills, brutal two-a-days in August don’t really gain you that much, and might end up costing you in injuries, whether minor ones like hamstring pulls, or major ones that might cause a player to miss a year.
You won’t hear that kind of talk around the Woodruff Practice Fields in Athens, however. After letting up in practice last year because of the alarming number of players going down with injuries, Mark Richt saw the Dogs’ fundamentals, focus and discipline all slip. The results weren’t pretty.
Practices toughened up for the bowl game and, at least in the case of the defense, definite improvement was shown. Approaching this season, Richt vowed to stay tough in practices if at all possible.
Seems like he’s done it so far, judging by a report in the Macon Telegraph on Georgia’s “grueling” preseason drills. The head coach briefly thought about letting up a bit last Friday when it looked like it might rain because his players were so exhausted. But the rain held off and Richt went ahead with a full practice. “They are tired, they are sore, but they responded,” he said.
“My body aches, my body’s sore,” Jeff Owens told the Telegraph. “But to be great, you’ve got to keep pushing. You must get better every day.”
Added Rennie Curran: “If we don’t sacrifice now, it’s going to get ugly. The way I look at it is, I’d rather hurt now than hurt on ESPN or in front of those fans and look sloppy in front of the fans. We’ve been putting work in day in and day out, and hopefully it’s going to pay off.”
So what do you think? Can you practice too hard in August? Is the risk of injury worth it? What about all that practice time that’s being missed by Caleb King and company because of those strained hamstrings?
Or can the shortcomings of last year’s team be attributed at least in part to not suffering enough on the practice field in August?