Cumberland football completed its first week of fall camp on Friday, with head coach Tim Mathis pleased with his team’s effort and physical play during practices the last five days.
“The effort has been unbelievable the leadership from our seniors has been tremendous,” Mathis said. “We want to play hard and physical and that’s been as adjustment for some players to practice with lots of hitting.
“We’ve really physical and mental toughness throughout this first week and they have really embraced those traits in practice everyday. For lots of these players, it’s the most any of them have ever hit in practice in high school or college,” he said.
Cumberland has followed a regimen of walk-throughs and lifting in the mornings with meetings after lunch before an afternoon practice from 3:30-6 p.m. Team and positional meetings follow in the evening each day. The Phoenix will continue that schedule for one more week and then move into a game-week preparation schedule for the season opener Aug. 25 at Bluefield College.
Mathis did add that one other challenge early in camp is getting reps for all 130 players on the practice field, something he saw first-hand during his years as an assistant coach at Shorter University.
“This first week everyone gets the same number of reps, which keeps all of the players involved but also gives the coaches an opportunity to really see who may can help this season. Maybe there’s a walk-on who can help in certain situations or on special teams. We will cut that down as we get closer to the first game, but the first week-to-10-days, that’s a good thing for everyone involved,” Mathis said.
Cumberland will hold an intrasquad-type practice this Saturday afternoon at Nokes-Lasater Field and also practice on the morning of Saturday, August 18. The players will receive a couple of days off to rest before preparations during game-week start when they return to campus. The first day of class is also that week on Aug. 22.