Valley starts fall camp

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

The summer is winding down, and it is getting close to football season. With fall camp starting for most teams this week, the excitement is starting to build. 

The Valley Rams started fall camp this Monday with an 8 a.m. practice. The team went at 8 a.m. again on Tuesday, but the rest of the practices this week are at 3 p.m. 

The Rams will have a veteran team this season. Many of the starters will be seniors or juniors, and most of them have started for at least a couple of years. However, fall camp is still going to decide the starters at several positions, and it will be a measuring stick of where the team stands to this point. 

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“You really don’t see what your potential is until you get in pads,” Head Coach Adam Hunter said. “Everybody looks good without pads on. When you put those pads on, then the people start stepping out, that’s going to be a leader, that’s going to fight through some pain, through contact, that kind of stuff. So, you kind of see going into the first game through fall camp what your team’s made of and who your leaders are.” 

Teams have not been able to be all that physical during the summer. The players will just wear helmets for the first two days of fall camp. The next two days of camp, players will get to add shoulder pads. On Friday, Valley will suit up for their first full pads practice since the spring. The first full pads practice will tell the coaches a lot about their team. 

Valley is still looking to figure out its starters for a couple of different positions. Both inside linebacker positions are currently up for grabs. 

“We’ve got about four or five guys we feel comfortable with, we’ve just got to nail those two down that are starters,” Hunter said. “That’s going to be key.” 

Most of the other positions are filled by veterans for Valley, but one outside linebacker starter could be figured out this week. 

“Going into it, anybody could get that position as well,” Hunter said. “We can move some guys around inside and outside. So, we’ve got guys that can play multiple positions. We just have to find what’s going to work best for us.” 

Another key position that Valley is yet to name a starter for is left tackle. Three players are currently competing for the starting role. 

“I think out of those three, somebody’s going to separate themselves pretty quickly, and we can nail that down as well,” Hunter said. “I feel like, you know, by the week’s end we can really feel comfortable with our one in every position both offensively and defensively.” 

Putting pads on for the first time does not just help coaches figure out their depth chart, it also helps to increase the excitement for the players. 

“You could tell a difference today,” Hunter said. “We really stressed how important fall camp is and this first day is, and we came out really bouncing around this morning,” Hunter said. “You can tell the difference going from summer workouts into [the] first day of fall camp. The kids were a little bit more sharper, bounced around a little bit more, talking a little bit more, pushing each other a little bit more. So, that’s a good sign.” 

This week ultimately shows every coach where their team is at going into the season. Hunter believes his team has made some significant strides this summer, and hopefully that will show when the pads are put on. 

“I think we’ve grown in some positions,” Hunter said. “I think receiving wise, I think we’ve really got a good group. I think we’ve got about, I’d say six guys that we feel comfortable throwing out there on the field at receiver. I think that’s one group that has grown tremendously. I think that’s going to be a big group for us this year.”