A mid-week, late afternoon visit to Happy Valley, the training grounds of the Jacksonville Fightin' Indian football team, earlier this week looked and felt somewhat similar to August football practice, sans the scorching heat and the pressure of the season opener being just a few days away.
Jacksonville opened its first-full week of spring drills earlier this week, with right at 100 boys taking part in full-contact drills.
No one was pleased with the outcome of the 2013 season and the best part of that campaign is that is over and done with.
All energy, focus and thoughts have shifted in a positive and workmanlike manner towards the 2014 season, which will open up on August 29 when the Pine Tree Pirates sail into the Tomato Bowl.
New offensive coordinator Jamie Palmer spent a great deal of time working with the offensive linemen on Tuesday.
Palmer's time was devoted to a lot of hands-on teaching of fundamentals while he encouraged his pupils to develop a grunt-like mentality of getting mad, getting physical and ultimately doing the things necessary to create the holes for the Tribe backs to run through and to provide adequate protection for the quarterbacks — Offensive Line 101.
The Indians will have 18 spring sessions, with an inter squad scrimmage scheduled for Friday, May 30 at 6 p.m. at Tomato Bowl.
And while the atmosphere was much lighter and less intense than in the fall, the stakes are high as Jacksonville coaches carefully evaluate the progress of each player in determining the respective dispositions come Friday nights this fall.
One chant from an unidentified Tribe coach rang out and rang true throughout Happy Valley earlier this week: “There are positions up for grabs. You want to play there (on Friday night) you must work there.”