LEMONT – The safety of the players has always been a primary concern for Lemont football head coach Eric Michaelsen and his staff.
So when the IHSA came in with new regulations for preseason practice, which began on Wednesday, the Indians’ head man had no beef.
“I think we do a good job looking out for the kids as is,” Michaelsen said. “But if they are trying to make the game safer, I’m all for that. We want the kids to have a great experience and we want them to feel we are teaching them the right way. Anything we can do to make them feel safer and make their families feel safer, that is what we want to do.”
The changes actually won’t have much of an affect on the Indians. School also started on August 14, eliminating the ability to have two-a-days.
“It won’t be a huge thing for us,” the coach said. “We will already be in school. But we will be missing out on two days of full pads, which is the biggest difference. The first Saturday used to be the first day of full pads. Now that Saturday is just helmet and shoulder pads; we won’t go full pads until Tuesday.”
Lemont trainer Jeff Kimak hadn’t heard word that the IHSA was planning to make changes, but upon seeing the new guidelines he thought it was a good thing.
“It’s good to see something that everybody is going to have to take some responsibility for,” Kimak said.
One thing that always needs to be monitored is the unpredictable August weather. The new guidelines are in place to help deal with any sweltering dog days during practice.
“It’s been a cool summer but you just don’t know,” Kimak said. “It could be in the 90’s (for practice). This allows the players to acclimate to that.”
Also of concern is the fact that players come to camp with varying degrees of conditioning levels, which the new guidelines also help with.
“Some kids will be more in shape than others,” the trainer added. “Now kids won’t be put through long practice days anymore. It is beneficial in that way.”