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July 30, 2013

FOOTBALL SUMMER REPORT: NA players giving total commitment

Bulldogs have been showing up in droves for summer practices

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany football team has not produced a winning record since 2008 and a sectional championship since 2002.

But that has not dampened the players’ commitment to the Bulldogs’ program this summer.

Third-year New Albany coach Charlie Fields said all of his players participated in summer practices. Plus the number of Bulldog players who will be in the upper three grades this school year have increased to 72.

During the offseason, New Albany has had two practices each week from 9 a.m. to noon. Each practice session has been a mixture of weightlifting, conditioning and what Fields calls, “football activities.”

“We’ve gotten 100 percent attendance. Not one kid has missed a practice,” Fields said. “We’ve been trying to do a lot of team-building things.”

During the practices when the coaches and players work on football items, the Bulldogs have been focusing on a couple of areas.

“We’ve worked on special teams and we’re trying to clean up penalties. We brought officials in during some of our scrimmages to help with penalties,” Fields said.

Along with the practices, New Albany traveled to Bloomington for a one-day football camp at Indiana University in June. Forty varsity players participated in the camp. The IU football team’s coaching staff had the Bulldogs go through some fundamental drills along with them competing in a few 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 scrimmages.

The Bulldogs went back to Bloomington earlier this month to have a controlled scrimmage against Bloomington North. New Albany had a 7-on-7 scrimmage with the Cougars and took part in some 1-on-1 drills. The Bulldogs will have a scrimmage with Charlestown in late July.

New Albany is currently having a quarterback competition this summer. Senior Vincent Falcone and junior Zach Donan are battling for the spot, which became vacant after the graduation of Michael Diehl.

“The competition will make them better,” Fields said. “I have confidence in both players.”

The Bulldogs welcome back last year’s leading rusher in Tuwan Payton, last season’s leading receiver in Ravon Wright and four starting offensive linemen.

Fields says his team does not have a lot of holes to fill on defense. But he said the Bulldogs’ D will miss graduated defensive end Marquil Hastings, who was last season’s leading tackler and sack leader.

“We have a lot of guys coming back. We’re just looking for some depth,” Fields said. “We just worry about getting better every day in practice. As long as we worry about the process of improvement, the record will take care of itself.”

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