Football practice off to cool start - despite new rules

Conner Kelly, seen here carrying the ball against River Valley in a file photo taken at ROWVA High School, and his Mid-County teammates began football practice this week under new IHSA guidelines promoting player safety.

On probably one of the coolest first days of football practice in recent history, Illinois high school football teams started workouts under new Illinois High School Association guidelines Wednesday.

With the IHSA calling it the "acclimatization period" the Mid-County and Ridgewood squads and other area teams started practice without the traditional two-a-days.

According to the guidelines established last spring to address safety and summer heat issues, athletes may not participate in more than three hours of practice per day for the first five days and practices are limited to three hours per day during that time.

The first day full contact will be allowed is Tuesday.

"I can't remember the last time it was 46 degrees and I showed up for the first day of practice in a sweatshirt," Mid-County Coach Ben Rees said, who's praiticing his team at Galva High School.

Although Rees thought the IHSA changes wouldn't impact practice for the first few days, he worries most about the full effect of the time limitations.

"The biggest thing for us is we're short on numbers," he said.

"We've got several kids who've got to go both ways. It limits us in getting them in shape to play two ways."

This story was adapted from a story written by Mike Trueblood of GateHouse News Service.