As the Columbus North football players finished their grueling sprints after Tuesday night’s scrimmage against Shelbyville, they had to be glad that the cooler weather gave a spring training feel to summer football.
Why not? This is a Bull Dogs team that has a spring training attitude.
After going 3-7 in 2013, optimism abounds.
“We are very motivated,” said Col-umbus North wide receiver Weston Moore, who is headed into his senior season. “We are upset with how that all went. I guess that’s more than enough motivation. We have a lot better feeling.”
North finished its fifth and final “competition day” Tuesday, facing Shelbyville in partial pads. Players are allowed to “thud” each other but try not to take players to the ground.
The action was intense, but the emotions were right out of a pep rally.
“Every team thinks it will be better at this time of year,” said North running back/defensive back Josh Holt, who also will be a senior. “But 3-7 hurts. It’s fueling our weight room, our drills, on the field, and even in the film room, where everyone is more focused.
“Everyone is up, and alert.”
North coach Tim Bless isn’t about to say his players are world beaters before they even begin regular-season practice sessions, but he likes what he has seen.
“Sure it’s hard to tell or do any kind of assessment until you compete against other teams, But we have a lot of returning starters and a good-sized senior class.
“We have older kids who are training hard, and we have younger kids who have had success at the junior varsity and freshmen levels and who are ready to compete. They have confidence.”
It means that Bless hasn’t had to search for bodies when it comes to summer training sessions.
“We have had a very good offseason,” Bless said.
Holt said it was been a long offseason, but that’s OK.
“We started offseason workouts earlier than ever this time,” Holt said. “We took three or four weeks off after the final game last season and then we got into the weight room.
“I know I am not leaving any stone unturned.”
Moore said most of the players feel the same way.
“Guys are getting in early and leaving late,” he said. “We’re amped up.”
Bless said about 70 players competed against Shelbyville on Tuesday evening. North doesn’t have any more competition days but will continue regular summer workouts until school begins.
North opens the season Aug. 22 at Plainfield and faces Class 4A state champion Columbus East the following week. North has only four regular-season home games this season.
Certainly, most high school football teams feel bulletproof with three weeks to go before the first official practice sessions (Aug. 4).