The St. Cloud State football team didn’t want to deal with the heat in the afternoon the past two days.
Therefore, SCSU head coach Scott Underwood decided to move the practices to early in the morning beginning at 5:30 a.m. That’s an early wake-up call for college kids, but Underwood said his team has adjusted to it.
“The guys have done a nice job of getting after it,” Underwood said of the morning practices. “We’re taking it day by day to see what the heat is like. When it’s at this level you can’t go out and practice in full pads. We have to wait until it’s cooler.”
The team practiced on Monday in the heat, but only went in shorts and helmets. It was back to full pads on Tuesday and Wednesday in the morning.
“I’m used to the heat. I know it was a 110 heat index out here (Monday),” SCSU senior safety Jack Moro said. “Everyone was still out here competing and no one was whining. They gave us a lot of water breaks, which was good. It’s good for us to go through this, though. You know it’s going to be hot for our first game.”
Senior wide receiver Dan Brown said Sunday’s two-a-day practice was particularly brutal.
“Sunday’s practice was tough. They took it easy on us (Monday),” Brown said. “The air is so thick and it’s hard to breathe. You take one step and you sweat. It’s terrible. But that’s part of being mentally tough. We’ll get better from this.”
Senior quarterback Phillip Klahake takes the heat in stride.
“I’m lucky I don’t have to run around as much as the other guys do,” he said. “I feel a lot worse for the receivers since they’re doing all their route work. The O-line works hard too and they’re big guys. You know it’s going to be hot on some days during fall camp. It was nice in July, we got lucky with that when we were working out down here.”
Underwood said he and the coaching staff have begun to install Southwest Minnesota State game planning into practice. The Huskies open the season with the Mustangs at 6 p.m. on Sept. 7 in Marshall.
–Underwood said a depth chart won’t be released until next week. Several players are still battling minor aches and muscle strains.
“We’re hanging in there,” Underwood said. “We still have strains and pulls. We’ll get more guys back this weekend.”
–Jameson Parsons and Scott Benedict are battling it out for the backup quarterback job behind Klaphake. Parsons sat out all of last year after undergoing shoulder surgery on his throwing arm. Parsons might have a slight edge since it’s his third year in the program. Benedict is in his second year.
“They’ve both got different qualities,” Underwood said. “Jameson has more experience, but Scott is doing a good job of learning the offense.”
–The best starting position battles are taking place on the offensive line, linebacker and in the loaded secondary.
“We’re trying to find the right combos in the secondary,” Underwood said. “We have some injuries so we don’t know who is all going to be ready for the Southwest game.”
–Underwood on whether Klaphake has a future playing professional football: “It depends on what teams are looking for. His pure throwing technique and arm strength are among his amenities. I don’t know whether he could range from the Arena League to the NFL. We had a scout here this spring and he looked at a couple of our guys. They’ll contact us throughout the year if they’re interested.”
–Eli Shoemaker, Klaphake and Moro were ranked as three of the top 100 players in Division II football by D2Football.com last week. Shoemaker was 73rd, Moro was 82nd and Klaphake was 86th.
“That’s awesome that all three of us made it,” Klaphake said. “That’s pretty crazy. I’m not sure who makes lists like that, or who has the time. It’s nice that people get noticed. That’s a reflection on how good our program is. You don’t get guys in the top 100 if you don’t win any games.
Follow Andy Rennecke on Twitter @AndyRennecke.