Raiders getting back in the swing

Shawn Stinson|Daily Journal Richmond Senior defensive lineman Ricardo Rush finishes a sprint at the conclusion of Tuesday’s practice.

ROCKINGHAM — There was the expected hiccup after the 10-day layoff, but the Richmond Senior football coaches expected it to be more mental than physical.

When players marched back out to the practice football fields Monday morning, the coaching staff was pleasantly surprised to discover the players had retained a good amount of information as they learn the new new offensive and defensive schemes and terminologies.

But when it came to the physical aspects, that was a different story.

“I think the information was retained, I thought we were lethargic and kinda out of shape,” Richmond coach Mike Castellano said. “We were far ahead mentally than we were physically yesterday. I think this is just all a new process for them. I think a lot of them didn’t know what to do during that time period. I think the next dead period we have, they will be more adjusted to it and understand more what it is expected of them.”

Assistant coach Steve Burdeau agreed with the assessment that the players weren’t as physically prepared to return to practice as the coaching staff would have liked. He added that with the effort players give on the practice field and the weight room, they would be up back to speed very quickly.

“I thought retaining the information we did well, but we were a little slow tempo-wise,” Burdeau said. “I think it was more physical than mental yesterday. I’m happy to see the information we talked about, we didn’t lose.

Burdeau believed he would spend more time Monday assisting his offensive unit in recalling the information they put in during the two weeks of practice. He was excited when the team remembered what they had worked on.

“I was expecting it to be more mental because we only had eight days of practice and then we had 10 days off,” Burdeau said. “I kind of expected a couple of things to be forgotten, so I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see that part was good.”

Before the 10-day break, Castellano cautioned the players about the long layoff and how it could slow the progress of learning the new systems. He thought the team did a good job of keeping themselves mentally sharp and hopes the lesson of not doing things to help stay in physical shape will be learned with another 10-day layoff looming toward the end of the month for the annual coaches clinic in Greensboro.

“The physical aspect of shutting down the body for 10 days and hoping to restart it full-go is where we kind of got lost,” Castellano said. “I think they have done a lot of things to learn. Accountability is what it is all about, if you hold the guy next to you accountable, and he does the same, then both of you are going to learn. I think they have shown some improvement.”

Another point of emphasis Castellano stressed to his players is not putting themselves in situations where they could be injured away from the field.

“Obviously it is frustrating…However, we are working with young men that are between the ages of 14 and 18,” Castellano said. “You keep trying to educate them on the right decisions to make and you hope they do it. Unfortunately though, sometimes young men make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them.”

Richmond will have another 7-on-7 against outside opponents 10 a.m. Thursday when Asheboro, East Montgomery and Union Pines are expected to make the trek to Rockingham.

Reach managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.