MT. VERNON —
Summer might represent a down time for some, but the Rams football team will be working hard over the next few months.
The goal is preparation for the season opener in August.
The final day of school at MVTHS was Friday. The Rams football team started Monday with conditioning and weight lifting activities.
“It's still a little ways away, but our 2014 season started this week with preparation and work in the weight room and conditioning and all those things,” coach Jared Shaner said.
Shaner said the summer period is also an exciting time for him as the leader of the Rams football program.
"There's a couple days every year that I think get coaches excited and fired up and one of them is the beginning of summer, and that was Monday,” Shaner said. “I didn't sleep a whole lot Sunday night. I was just excited to get the kids back in there. We had taken a week off.”
Athletes will lift weights and take part in conditioning along with agility exercises four days a week with Wednesday being an off day. Shaner said morning and afternoon sessions are available for the athletes.
Once the calendar turns to July the football program's focus turns to fundamentals and playbook work. The month also brings a youth camp. This year the camp is Tuesday-Thursday, July 8-10 and is open to children in kindergarten through eighth grades.
The busy month ends with a varsity team camp for sophomores through seniors at Southern Illinois University.
“(There's) definitely a lot going on and July it really gets hectic, I guess,” Shaner said.
Shaner is trying to strike a balance between this season and last. The Rams had their most successful season in some time. Mt. Vernon ended the year 7-4 and had an opening round road playoff win. Shaner said he wants the program to remember how that success happened, but also that 2014 is a brand new year.