So let’s say it’s hotter than a sauna outside, with temperatures in the upper 90s — which, at Southern University, it is.
And let’s say that preseason football camp is well into its second grueling week — which, at Southern, it most certainly is.
And let’s also add that players, like everywhere else, are simply trying their best during each and every drill, if for nothing else than two major reasons: 1) it’s important to get things right, and 2) it’s important to get this steam bath of a practice over with.
In cases like this, here’s what a player wants to hear from his coach:
That’s what I want to see!
You know, stuff like that.
On the other hand, here are the three words a player certainly, definitely, obviously doesn’t want to hear:
“RUN IT AGAIN!”
Oh, yes. It’s a favorite old saying of college football coaches, from coast to coast and program to program.
At Southern, it’s no different.
It’s one more little slice of training-camp misery.
And it’s nothing players want to hear.
After all, it’s hot, and they’re tired. Their minds might be willing, but their bodies are fading.
Or, sometimes, it’s the other way around.
At any rate, players typically don’t want to repeat the same drill, much less incur the wrath of the coaching staff.
Asked what he thinks when he hears that dreaded phrase — “Run it again!” — in the middle of practice, linebacker Corey Ray smiled.
Then he paused.
Then he answered.
“The first thing that comes to my head is, ‘Suck it up,’ Because I have other people looking up to me,” said Ray, a fifth-year senior.
“So I’m going to suck it up. I don’t care how tired I am. I’m going to suck it up, and at least make it look like I’m all right. At least for a little while.”
Asked what he thinks when he hears the phrase, linebacker Jamie Payton smiled, as well.
“We must not have done that drill or that play to his liking,” Payton said.
“So, because we didn’t do that, (the coach) wants to see us do it to his liking. And he’s going to keep calling it, keep telling us to do it, until it’s done right.”
Defensive coordinator O’Neill Gilbert, a former defensive end at Texas A&M, knows exactly what the run-it-again routine feels like from both perspectives, as a player and a coach.
When a player hears those three awful words, he automatically has a certain few thoughts, Gilbert said.
No. 1: What happened?
No. 2: Who made the mistake?
No. 3: Why?
One other thing, Gilbert said: “They probably all think, ‘It wasn’t me.’ ”
Coaches, however, don’t demand a repeat performance simply because they’re mean.
They might want to see players repeat a drill or play for any number of reasons.
Gilbert said that sometimes, when he (and other coaches) say “run it again,” it’s premeditated.
“You want to challenge them and challenge their psyche a little bit, to make sure that if there’s a turnover or a penalty, what’s going to be the reaction of your team?” Gilbert said.
“Sometimes, I make them run plays that they ran perfectly. But it’s like a turnover or a penalty to me. When something bad happens, I want to see who’s going to complain, who’s going to gripe. I want to see who wants to grind the bit and who’s going to spit the bit out.”
Then, of course, there’s the most obvious reason.
“Sometimes, there’s mistakes that need to be corrected on the spot,” Gilbert said.
Guess what happens?
They run it again.
Services for ‘Sweet’
Funeral services for longtime SU employee and athletic department volunteer Michael “Sweet” Haynes will be held this weekend.
A viewing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, followed by a short service at 7 p.m. at Hall Davis and Son Mortuary, 9348 Scenic Hwy.
A viewing is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1565 Curtis St., with a mass service at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Haynes, who held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SU, died Monday morning at 50.
He is perhaps best remembered as a volunteer for the athletic department, assisting with practice and gameday preparations for the football and men’s basketball teams.
Get your tix
Tickets are on sale for what might be Southern’s most anticipated game this season — the Atlanta Football Classic on Sept. 24 against Florida A&M.
Prices range from $10 to $50, according to a release from the game’s organizers. Tickets are available at www.atlantafootballclassic.com, the Georgia Dome ticket office or the SU ticket office at the A.W. Mumford Field House.
LG Taylon Jones (wrist), RT Clinton Boyd (shoulder), DE Dion Palmer (ankle), SS Anthony Balancier (hamstring) and WR Jared Green (groin) sat out Thursday. ... Scouts from the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots were on hand for Thursday’s practice. This week alone, SU has also hosted scouts from Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Chicago and Jacksonville.