Regardless of how devoted one is to Thomson football, Aug. 5, may seem too early to start the football season. Nonetheless, the Thomson High School Bulldogs have their first scrimmage at The Brickyard against Lincoln County on that date.
According to head coach Luther Welsh, the team is as ready as can be expected.
"They're progressing well," he said. "In this heat like we've had, you can only go full speed for so long."
Defensive Coordinator John Barnett expressed the benefit of a scrimmage game, which will be the team's first test with coaches watching from the sidelines.
"Defensively, we want to see how our players make the necessary adjustments to an opponent's formations under game conditions," Coach Barnett said.
Coach Welsh agreed with Coach Barnett's assessment of the value of scrimmage opportunities, which do not count for the team's regular season record.
"The scrimmages let you see how the boys play without coaches standing behind them," he said.
Lincoln County should have a "good team," according to Coach Welsh. The Red Devils are led by another legendary coach, Larry Campbell, who is one of the few coaches in the state with more wins than Coach Welsh.
"I expect Lincoln County to have gifted skill position players and linemen who are solid fundamentally," Coach Barnett said, offering a more in-depth analysis of Lincoln County's talent level. "I understand they are equally effective throwing and running."
If the players' commitment to the coaches' weightlifting regimen is any indication, fans should expect a solid performance this season.
"Since the state championship team (in 2002), this is the hardest working group we've had," Coach Welsh said. "Some boys have missed a few workouts, but with it being summer, families go on vacation for a week or so. That's understandable."
Coach Barnett also stressed the importance of coming through the scrimmages with a healthy and game-experienced team.
"Obviously, we want to play well, but it's more important to get some experiences for as many players as possible," he said. "Also, we want to come away from both scrimmages without any injuries."
Coach Welsh agreed.
"The goal is no injuries," he said.