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Let the hitting begin, pads go on today

COVINGTON -- The Georgia High School Association mandatory practice week before teams are allowed to put on pads had little impact on some local schools as they were already helping their players get ready for the upcoming August heat.

August begins today and the pads go on across Georgia and Newton and Rockdale counties.

"We're used to the heat since we've been out in it all summer," Alcovy head football coach Kirk Hoffman said. "I feel like we got a lot done in the two hours that we were allowed to practice."

Alcovy's regular summer practices consist of weight training and field work for all positions. A lot of schools tend to do workouts as well but the field work is usually held for the skill-position players in the form of 7-on-7 competitions.

"We kind of ease into it in June, then in July we're out there every time we work out," Hoffman added.

Though the mandatory practices where players can wear helmets and shorts are a good thing, they also has disadvantages.

According to the state mandate, before a player can practice with pads they have to practice for five consecutive days in helmets and shorts. A couple Alcovy players missed the five-day rule, forcing them to miss today's first day of practice in pads.

"I'm going to lose two kids because of missing practice. One kid missed (Monday) so he has to start his five consecutive practices over. For the most part I'll have everyone there in pads (today). We're going to go for about an hour after open house get in some hitting then get ready to come back for Thursday," Hoffman said. "For the schools that do like we do in the months of June and July, we've done more than we've done in the past five days because of the time limit.

"I truly believe that GHSA is going in the right direction. Any measure that puts the safety of the kids first is the right measure. There's no doubt in my mind about that. We can't lose sight over what's the right thing to do and that's the health and safety of the kids."