Trojans football will start the season in 27 days. The team has been conditioning most of the summer. Regulation pad practices begin on Aug. 15.
One unit conditioning hard for the Trojans are the linemen. On Wednesday there were six young men sweating buckets under the summer sun.
The dedicated players were Jeremy Coates — 223 pounds at 6’2”, Jace Clayton — 257 pounds at 6’ 2”, Jax Clayton—210 pounds at 6’1”, Kyle Daffer — 310 pounds at 6’ 0”, Gerald Fairbank — 345 pounds at 6’ 0” and Joseph Pryor — 185 pounds at 6’0”.
These are just the defensive and offensive tackles. Their total weight came to 1,530 pounds.
Trojans line coach Fred Schmidt said this group has been on the field all summer.
“When we start practice on Aug. 15, I want them to be mechanically sound so that we are not retraining,” he said. “We will have some other boys coming out by then. We are trying to build a program so that when we start against Chaparral we are ready to go.”
This year Schmidt agrees with Head Coach Joe Clayton that the line has changed for the better.
“The difference is we are bigger and definitely stronger,” Schmidt said. “The linemen are stronger across the board. We have a good group that works hard. I don’t want to take anything from that group we had in the past. This is a new group with different personalities. They are working beyond and pressing themselves by going past their comfort zone.”
Trojans linemen have been criticized in the past for not being aggressive enough. Schmidt feels this group will not have this problem.
“If they have a desire to be successful, then aggressiveness comes with that. When they understand that they have a common goal, the faster they get there and the quicker they make decisions promotes aggressiveness. They can’t be passive and get there,” he said.
Fairbank said it’s all a mental game with him. “You just need to have that state of mind before you go into the game,” he said.
Jace said aggression comes with preparation. “You can’t just become aggressive in the middle of the game. You have to pump before that,” Jace said.
This year’s line said training camp had a different feel to it. There is a new attitude on the field and they know it.
“Last year’s line — they were good but we are bigger — a lot bigger, and we put the time in the weight room,” Jace remarked.
Jace has gained at least 30 pounds since last year’s wrestling season.
He said most of the line has been pumping iron since wrestling.
“Our maxes are a lot higher. We have been working at this since we were in grade school. We were the first team that all of us started in Pop Warner together,” he explained.
The line said getting beat 65-0 in the playoffs ends this year and this is “their time.”
Trojans football plays its first game Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. against the Chaparral Cowboys.