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Statesboro gets ready for full-pads practices
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SHS FOR 8.04

SHS head coach Steve Pennington comments about the first week of practice.

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    It was easy to tell it was Friday during Statesboro’s final practice of the week in the backyard of Womack Field at SHS. The Blue Devils finished up their first three workouts of the season with high intensity Friday, ending the week on a positive note.

    “I think practice (this week) went great,” said junior quarterback Luke Connell. “Coach said it’s the best work’s he’s seen in (the first) three days and I think that’s a pretty good compliment.”

    High schools across the region got a break with the cool weather and damp conditions Friday. A perfect way to end the week when players know Monday could be a scorcher. Players report in full pads for the first time this season.

    “It’s going to be hot — it’s going to be hot,” said Connell. “But we’re going to have to do it, get ready for (a scrimmage against Emanuel County Institute) and get ready for Screven County. Pads is going to show who wants to play football and who doesn’t.”

    Connell has seen the majority of the snaps with the No. 1 offense this week.

    “(The offense) is doing good,” he said. “Great, experienced line that’s coming back this year. We got a lot of speed in the backfield and I think we’ll be pretty good.”

    Junior Aaron Cone, who also has been taking snaps with the No. 2 offense, has moved primarily to safety on the defensive side of the ball. He ended his first week as a member of the blue shirts.

    “It’s pretty hard,” said Cone. “I’m starting to get used to it now. I plan to make some big plays. I’ve always been friends (with the defense) — they just tell me not to mess up.”

    With an experienced offense and a defense that’s had to fill some big holes due to graduation, coach Steve Pennington feels both sides of the ball are at even keel at this point.

    “Normally your defense, early on, makes a stand early,” said Pennington. “But since our offense has as much experience coming back it may be balanced out — which is a good thing. Hopefully it will makes us stronger — not three or four weeks from now but every day.”

    When the Blue Devils hit in full pads for the first time this fall, Pennington is hoping for a ‘marvelous Monday’.

    “We don’t need any Monday afternoon syndrome,” he said. “It’s time to get down to business.”

    Statesboro opens the season Friday, August 31 at Screven County.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.