Tuesday was supposed to be one of the most intense days of Southern’s preseason football camp.
Instead it was the lightest.
Coach Dawson Odums scrapped what was supposed to be a 100-plus play scrimmage — the longest of three scheduled for camp — and kept the players indoors.
The Jaguars had practiced in 100-plus degree heat the previous three days, and Odums decided the time was better spent away from the heat.
The coaches had meetings with the players, who also studied film and took care of business in preparation for the first day of classes Monday.
Tuesday was the first break the players had had from practice after eight straight days. That included the first scrimmage Saturday. The final scrimmage is scheduled for this Saturday as the conclusion of camp.
Before canceling the scrimmage, Odums said the players had responded well to the unusually high temperatures.
“The conditions create some adversity, so it’s allowing a lot of backups to get reps,” Odums said. “You get a lot of nicks and bruises. The good thing is we haven’t had any major injuries in camp so far. The elements are creating adversity, but the guys are fighting through it.”
The heat hasn’t allowed for any respite. The Jaguars have mostly practiced in the morning. But when they have gone late in the afternoon, the conditions haven’t been any better.
“It’s been extremely hot,” Odums said. “We’re going at 9 in the morning, and it’s still hot. It’s good just to see them fight through it and try to practice hard. And they’re not making a lot of mistakes. That’s the good thing.
“In these elements you expect to see a little fatigue and your mistakes go up, but the guys are still practicing hard, and the execution is there. So we’re excited about what the young men are doing.”
Offensive lineman Eric Janeau said maintaining productive work through the heat has been a case of mind over matter.
“We always talk about mindset,” Janeau said. “As long as you talk about the heat, you’re going to be sluggish. If you talk about getting better, you’re going to get better.”
Southern has been in full pads for the past four days of practice.
“Everybody for the most part has been doing pretty good in full pads,” offensive lineman Jamal Boulden said. “Everybody has been sucking it and up going forward.”
The Jaguars open the season Sept. 5 at Louisiana Tech.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.