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Blue Devils cope with heat, hits

    Statesboro didn’t catch any breaks from the weather on Monday. Temperatures were scorching during the Blue Devils’ fourth practice of the fall and first in full pads.
    “We made progress today,” said coach Steve Pennington. “But it was at a different speed than it was last week. I really don’t want to harp on the weather, but it’s a vast difference from what we experienced last week.”
    The first three days of football practice sanctioned by the GHSA came during the first week of August with temperatures reaching the low 90s. Friday produced damp conditions with a breeze that smelled like game nights in November.
    Monday was a different story, though, and players were forced to fight through the extreme heat and punishing hits their teammates delivered throughout the day.
    “We we’re very excited (about hitting),” said junior running back Nic Lanier, who admitted to being popped several times Monday. “You just got to fight through it,” he added.
    Lanier and the Blue Devil offense look to be making strides towards being a group full of dangerous playmakers. The blue shirts on defense are still on the learning curve.
    “There’s a lot of learning going on,” said defensive backs coach Todd Gilchrist. “We’re trying to take it slow, and I guess we’ll be as forgiving as we can. But we only got a couple weeks to get better and we’re working at it.”
    Meanwhile, Pennington was more than pleased with Statesboro’s performance over the three cool, padless days last week. Are the Devils still performing up to standard?
    “We had enough good contact to get into somewhat of a rhythm today,” said Pennington. “By going full speed it also gave us an opportunity to see some of our players perform in short space and also some of our players how they respond in open space. I can tell you we’ve got a long way to go based on those observations.”
    Statesboro will resume practice today at 3:30 p.m. and the for the remainder of the week. The Blue Devils open play Friday, Aug, 31 at Screven County.


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