LaFayette’s summer of improvement

Published 10:30 am Saturday, July 1, 2023

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For high school football teams improvement begins during the summer. LaFayette’s football team has been hard at work this summer and believe this summer will be one of their more fruitful summers in recent history. 

Head Coach Juan Williams has been emphasizing strength in the weight room this summer with his players. 

“We put a big emphasis on the weight room this summer,” Williams said.

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Williams said that due to his athletes working in the weight room this summer, he has seen a difference in their body types. 

“We’re toning our bodies better,” Williams said. 

One of the main differences between this summer and the past summers has been the attendance of the players. 

“A lot of kids that we usually don’t get in the summer are here now,” Williams said. “Being able to work with them every day in the weight room, and have other coaches in there working with them has been great for us.” 

In the past, several of LaFayette’s players have taken up summer jobs and missed part of the summer workouts. 

The team has been working out starting at eight every morning. The team does not finish workouts until around 10:30. 

Squats and lunges have been two of the main workouts that Williams believes has helped his team to improve this summer. 

“Really trying to develop the lower body in the weight room this year,” Williams said. “That’s one of our biggest things that we’re trying to get better at.” 

LaFayette has several players that play on both sides of the ball during the season. Williams believes that adding leg strength in the weight will help with the physical endurance of his players later on. 

“We got to have some endurance,” Williams said. “We play kids both ways.” 

The weight room has also helped LaFayette to add some physicality to their lineman as well as some of their skill players. 

Being physical is important, but in football confidence may be even more important. The weight room has added muscle to the players, which in turn has led to an increase in confidence. 

“With that comes confidence,” Williams. “These kids are getting a little more confident in themselves. You get a little stronger, you feel a little better. Then, you can do a little more things than you used to do.” 

LaFayette is still planning on using two quarterbacks during the regular season. AJ Patrick and Zae Towles will both take snaps at quarterback this season. 

“You got one who is a great manager, and the other one probably has a little more arm strength and will run a little more,” Williams said. “It’s a good problem to have.” 

Both players will also play at wideout when they are not taking snaps. Williams believes that each quarterback has different aspects to their games that will help LaFayette next season. 

“This year either one of those guys can line up at receiver and help also with the receiver corps,” Williams said. “That’s big.”

LaFayette has seen improvement this summer, but Williams said that the team is still figuring out some of their limitations. 

Williams said that the coaches are “still seeing what their kids can and can’t do” in the weight room as well as on the football field. 

Each position group has goals set for them in the weight room. The athletes have different weight requirements for each lift that they are trying to achieve before the summer ends. 

“That’s the challenge for our coaches right now is to make sure your guys are getting to a point that they can help us when the season starts,” Williams said. “We’ll see August 1 when practice starts where we’re at.” 

Nutrition has also been a key point of emphasis for LaFayette this summer. Many of the players have been drinking Muscle Milk and working on their diets. 

Williams has been trying to teach his players how to monitor what they put in their bodies and to limit junk food. 

“Nutrition is probably one of the biggest things,” Williams said. “A lot of these kids now eat candy, chips and that’s their dinner.” 

Williams has been emphasizing the importance of “meat and potatoes”. Williams has also been trying to get his players to add more potassium and vegetables to their diets. 

LaFayette competed against Beulah and Notasulga on Thursday in a 7-on-7 camp. Going up against a team in a different uniform should help LaFayette when fall arrives. 

“Any day you can get on the field against somebody who is not you that you see every day and compete is big,” Williams said. “We’ll do that three or four more times this month. That’s big to us.”