Texas Wesleyan’s football team held its first practice in full pads at Farrington Field Wednesday to prepare for the scrimmage April 22 and next season, head coach Joe Prud’homme said.
“[Practice] went pretty well,” Prud’homme said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect because this is the first time any of them have been in pads for us in that setting. I was actually pleasantly surprised because we threw a lot at them in a hurry. They adjusted well; they soaked it up pretty well.”
The team adjusted to working in pads quickly, considering it was their first day, Prud’homme said.
“There’s a whole lot to learn and a whole lot to do and a whole lot to execute that you haven’t been doing,” Prud’homme said. “You’ve been doing it in shorts and T-shirts with no pressure on, now all of a sudden pads are on. And it’s live; it’s fast; it’s for real. They just have to think a little bit faster on their feet but all in all it was a very good first practice.”
There’s always room to improve in every situation and in every game, Prud’homme said.
“I thought the energy was good. I thought the intensity was really good,” Prud’homme said. “Our coaching staff did a great job planning it and putting the plan together and then the execution of it because there wasn’t any dead time or down time. If there was, it was by design there was nothing that was just dead air.”
The team will play the April scrimmage and all home games next fall at Farrington Field, according to Ann Davis, director of communications. The field, at 1501 University Drive, is where the Wesleyan team played its last home game in 1941.
Prud’homme said Farrington Field has “a really good feel to it.”
“I think [Farrington Field] is a great venue for us,” Prud’homme said. “Is it old? Yes. Is it historical? Absolutely, it’s the last place that Texas Wesleyan played their games which I think is really cool. It’s also right in the heart of downtown Fort Worth right next to the 7th St. District. It’s just kind of wrapped around the history of the program that was there before. It’s really special.”
Freshman quarterback Justin Arth described Wednesday’s first practice in full pads as being energetic.
“We started off with stretches,” Arth, a business administration major, said, “and then we went straight into blitz pick up which is pretty much just defensive guys sprinting at you in full pads and you’ve got to make a read on who to throw it to then we went into 7-on-7 and then a little bit of hitting and that was pretty much it.”
Practicing in the heat didn’t faze the team since they have been practicing outside since August, Arth said.
“We could always run more to be in even better shape,” Arth said. “I felt pretty good about it. Nobody was bending over wheezing too much.”
The team practiced for a little over two and a half hours running plays and hitting for the first time this school year, Arth said.
“Two months ago they sized us for pads and they basically asked if we want this brand of pads or that brand of pads and then each position group has their own style of pads too so we just kind of chose based off of our sizes which pads we wanted,” Arth said.
Different positions require specific pads, Arth said. A lineman needs thicker pads than the quarterbacks or special teams players that wouldn’t see as much hitting.
Freshman middle linebacker Dewaun Colbert said he is excited to be back in pads and on a turf field.
“We did inside hole and a couple of other things,” Colbert said. “We went over different plays but most of the time we’re on the same page as offense. We’re either going against them or we’re working with them. We’re in pretty good shape. We could run more or whatever but we’re good for the heat; we’ve been in the heat enough to be ready for it.”
Freshman quarterback Kane Hardin said being able to hit each other was fun.
“It was the first day of pads,” Hardin said. “We got a little team action. We got to go against each other, finally. It was just a good day overall.”
As a start-up program there’s always something that can be improved but the team has great energy, Hardin said.
“We’ve been working out in the heat for a while now but with the pads it’s a little different,” Hardin said.
The team is working on perfecting basic skills right now and practicing basic plays as well as conditioning, Hardin said.
“We’re just working on overall stuff. Offense is just working on our playbook; defense is working on their stuff, nothing specific,” Hardin said.