COVINGTON - Neither unbearable heat or a scorching sun is keeping Alcovy from making great strides on the football practice field so far this summer.
Helping the Tigers move along at a good pace is the fact that in their third year as a program, the players are building on a foundation instead of just learning a system.
"I've been pleased with the work ethic these kids have given us. We're so much farther along then we have been in the past two years," Tigers head coach Kirk Hoffman said. "But we haven't changed a lot, which means that we're not having to teach, it's more like adding on."
Hoffman has been averaging about 75 players in his June practices. While some days he may have 90 potential starters on the field, other days his numbers may be closer to 60.
Even though the numbers tend to fluctuate, Hoffman is not concerned because even if they're not there, he knows where they are.
"The thing is that the kids that haven't made it, I know where they're at," Hoffman said. "I've been so fortunate since I started this program in that attendance and tardies have not been things I've had to deal with. The kids know that these two months is when you get better as an individual with the weight room and stuff like that."
While June has been a time to practice on the field, July is going to be used to concentrate on conditioning and building strength.
"We're getting better and that's the key for us in the summer. We spent a lot of time in the month of June doing a lot of teaching. We'll come back after the Fourth of July week and start working on conditioning as we try to put all the pieces together," Hoffman said.
Two positions where the coaching staff has seen a lot of promise is with quarterbacks and receivers. After graduating Alcovy's starting quarterback and go-to receiver, Hoffman was not sure what was going to happen.
But with four potential quarterbacks and two receivers stepping up from the crowd he is feeling better about their outlook.
"I've been real pleased with the quarterback situation," he said. "Patrick Thompkins has really come on and gotten better every week. Rod Tolen has played some over there and even my young quarterbacks, Garrison Ready and Travis Gunnells, have played well."
"We're going to wideout by committee. We feel like have a good group of young kids and they're all going to get a chance to show us what they got. Kenneth Stokes has had some good days. Altoine Wilson has also really shined. It's helped us because we feel can do a lot of things rotation-wise."
However, all is not perfect for the Alcovy football team. The team will face a lack of players ready for the varsity level.
"Depth is a concern, especially on the offensive line. I'm also hoping that some kids will step it up in the secondary," Hoffman said. "You want to find enough kids so they won't have to play both ways so hopefully, some kids will step up there."
Alcovy will have a scrimmage against Southside on Aug. 15 before starting their season Aug. 29 against county rival Newton.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.