Perry football camp helping team transition into new season

Sean Cordy - Sports
Cole Snyder (middle) and the offensive line practice their technique off the line. PHOTO BY SEAN CORDY/THE PERRY CHIEF

After a weekend of storms and scorching temperatures, the Perry football camp was treated to a season change on Sunday, July 21. Or maybe the first day of camp was what brought the fall weather. However the weather came, it felt time for Friday night lights, giving head coach Matt Hardy a good look at the returning and incoming talent.

“A lot of new bodies,” Hardy said. “A lot of inexperience at multiple positions and through the fundamental work we did tonight and a lot of the group work, and teamwork, I was very pleased with how we grew from the beginning of practice to the end of practice.”

Over the course of three hours, the team ran through a number of position and team drills that culminated in non-contact 11-on-11 plays to get an idea of the team's personnel and progress.

The Bluejays had previously met throughout June to start installing a new offense Hardy said will cater to the talents on the roster. Players are competing for position across the depth chart including quarterback to replace Kaleb Olejniczak who was team's leading rusher, returner, and tackler last season in addition to signal calling.

Hardy said there were a number of players to test at quarterback in June that helped the process, but ultimately felt their services could be “better implemented at another position.” Sunday night gave the chance to test a player that had never previously taken a snap to go under center as well.

“They're obviously inexperienced, so I expect them to grow quite a bit over the next three days of camp,” Hardy said.

The team's offensive packages aren't the only things changing. Hardy said because of the “fewer numbers this season” than in years past, the team is going to look for ways to get players rested through the defense.

As one of the returning seniors, defensive lineman Cole Snyder will be a crucial piece for the defense moving forward. He returns with a team-high seven tackles for loss and two sacks. Snyder said that the team's new look in the weight room for the school's revamped strength and conditioning program is going to make some waves.

“We've had a lot more kids in the weight room than we have in years past,” Snyder said. “It's kind of surprised me with the new change and I think it's a good thing for the program that we've had more kids in the weight room.”

He was also in agreement with Hardy that the team has made some great strides since the team's first summer meetings.

“It's got a lot smoother than it was in June,” Snyder said. “So it just goes to show the growth of the team and we already started to put things together today.”

Camp continues through Tuesday and the team's official practice starts Monday, Aug. 12.