Since teachers at Kanawha schools report Aug. 6 - the day after practice begins - there will be no time for morning workouts, even during the first week of practice. In past years, many teams preferred to practice in the early morning or the evening in order to avoid the heat of sweltering August days.
"There's no other way to do it,'' Smolder said. "We have to go in the evenings. We have no choice.''
Coaches are considering cutting corners by various means.
Some plan to hold Saturday drills during the first week, which for many schools had been a day of rest. Smolder thought about getting a jump-start on conditioning during July, but admitted "it's tough because of a lot of kids are on vacation.''
Donnie Mays, South Charleston's first-year coach, wants to take advantage of his school's earlier-than-most dismissal time of 2:25 p.m. by squeezing in reduced two-a-days.
"For that second week,'' Mays said, "we'll try to hit the field running and get out there as soon as possible. Go for about an hour 45 minutes each [practice] and take a break in between. Then get the kids home as soon as we finish - give them plenty of time to rest and whatever.''
Mays feels that by the third game of the season, whatever disadvantage Kanawha teams faced at the outset regarding practice time will be washed away.
"Generally, by the third or fourth game, everybody's in the same boat no matter how much practice you've had,'' he said. "And our first two games are in-county schools [George Washington, St. Albans].''
As Kanawha County teams tinker with how to best make use of their time during August drills, it only increases the importance of the three-week summer practice period that begins Monday around the state.
"We'll work really hard in June,'' Smolder said, "trying to get better in technique and fundamentals and get our schemes in on both sides of the ball. We'll utilize it more this year.''
"We'll take it the way we've always done in June,'' Mays said. "Generally we used June as a tool to install the offense in every phase of the passing game, so that when we get to August, we can focus on the running game and screens.''
Mays said SC plans to appear in six 7-on-7 passing competitions this month, starting with June 11-12 at Marshall.
Nitro also plans to participate in several 7-on-7s during June workouts, Midkiff said.
"The three-week period is big for us,'' he said. "For a team that runs the ball predominantly on every play, a 7-on-7 doesn't help them all that much. But it's really effective for us. It's a big part of our offense.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.