With construction going on at Rocky Mountain High School, football coach Mark Brook knew his team wouldn't be able to practice at French Field this summer. So instead, the Lobos have been working out at Poudre High School.
However, when the High Park Fire started Saturday, poor air quality forced yet another change in practice venue -- this time 30 minutes away in Windsor.
It hasn't made for the most convenient week, but the character Rocky Mountain's players have shown through it all has Brook reminded why he loves coaching them.
"The kids are doing well. Obviously, this time of year we've got kids in basketball and baseball, but with the stuff going on at Rocky, it's been harder, but kids are handling it great," Brook said. "We'll find out (today) with our scrimmage against Legacy exactly where we're at, but we're excited about it. The kids have been really resilient and have done a great job managing things, so I'm really proud of them."
The Lobos' 6 p.m. scrimmage against Legacy, which will be held at North Stadium in Westminster, will be a chance for Rocky Mountain to test a variety of new items added to the offense and see which ones work est, something Brook said will help the team know what areas to focus on come fall.
It hasn't been the easiest two weeks of practice for Poudre, mentally, but given the circumstances new coach Dan Reardon feels it's gone fairly well.
With much of Poudre's district reaching into the foothills, a handful of players and families were evacuated from their homes due to the High Park Fire. In addition, lingering smoke on the west side of Fort Collins forced the Impalas to pack up and spend each morning this week practicing in Windsor, rather than on campus on the northwest side of Fort Collins. But the team did its best to put the blazing inferno in the rear view mirror for a few hours each day, and the results have been favorable.
"I think, all things considered, so far, camp has been going well," Reardon said. "I like how the kids are working. It's a process, it's not a thing where you have your offense installed in one day, but the thing we're trying to do in this camp is introduce a lot of things. When we come back in August, our kids will have been introduced to virtually everything."
Unlike the other schools in town, Fort Collins didn't have to deal with smokey conditions this week during practices, as the Lambkins held all of their workouts at CSU-Pueblo's football team camp.
Schools have the option of holding two weeks of practices, with an external scrimmage on the final day, or one week of workouts and one at a team camp. Fort Collins chose the latter, and coach Eric Rice feels it paid off.
Team camps allow schools to face multiple opponents each day, rather than the one a scrimmage allows. Fort Collins took full advantage of the opportunity, matching up against the likes of Pomona, Douglas County, Mountain Range, Greeley West and Dakota Ridge.
It was the first time Fort Collins went to a team camp in several years.
"Football camp is a mental toughness training period because it's hot, you go three times a day, start to get beat up, sore, with bumps and bruises along the way and then you're done with the 10 days of practices you're allowed until August," Rice said. "The one thing I thought we were missing the past couple of years was getting on a bus, going down there as a team, trying to develop some unity and cohesion, making connections with players on maybe a different level than just being at home."
With just more than half of its starting lineup returning from a 2011 season in which Windsor won the Class 3A state championship, tonight's scrimmage against Poudre will allow the Wizards to see which players might best fill in for the 10 opening jobs atop the depth chart.
Positions up for grabs on offense for Windsor are three offensive linemen spost, a wide receiver and wingback. Defensively, coach Chris Jones is looking for players to fill two positions on the line, two at defensive back and one linebacker.
Getting the players battling for those starting roles to be aggressive has been the biggest emphasis for the Windsor coaching staff during the past two weeks .
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