Lions football preseason practice heats up

Junior running back Lamonte Thompson takes a water break during practice Aug. 26.

Football season is heating up, literally.

With temperatures in the mid-90s last week, the UNA football team continues to prepare for its season opener.

“Fortunately not one player has passed out or had any issue with the heat,” said coach Bobby Wallace. “I’ve had to get a little treatment, but I’m not in as good of shape as they are.”

The Lions will take the field for the first time this season when they travel to Jackson, Mississippi to face Mississippi College Sept. 13.

The team is preparing for the heat as much as they are preparing for their opponent.

“We’ve let the (players) know how important it is to hydrate,” said Head Athletic Trainer Josh Penny. “They have all come into camp in pretty good shape, and that helps to keep conditioning issues under control.”

The team practices on an artificial turf, which can heat up pretty fast under the sun, Wallace said.

“It’s hotter down here on this turf than it is anywhere else out here,” he said. “But our guys are hungry (for the season to start) and getting ready so it has had little effect on them.”

Because of such a late start to the season, the Lions decided not to have two-a-day practices.

“It’s easier to stay hydrated when you practice once a day as opposed to twice a day,” Penny said.

The athletic training team holds meetings with the team on how to eat and how to hydrate, as well as the influence it has on overall health and performance, he said.

“We’ve met with the players and told them how to take care of themselves,” Penny said. “It’s up to them what they do when they leave the facility.”

He also mentioned how important it would be when the temperatures start to drop.

“Preparing in this heat makes a 6 p.m. game later in the year nothing to deal with,” said sophomore fullback Hayden Henderson.

With the fall season approaching temperatures should begin to drop.

“We’ll continue to monitor them and make sure they are healthy and ready to go,” Wallace said. “The season is still a few weeks away but we’re getting prepared and we’ll be ready to play.”