MAU focuses on teaching with spring practice

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BENNINGTON — With the school year winding down, athletes from across the state are already looking ahead to the fall sports season.

The Mount Anthony football team is one of those teams putting in early preparations for the 2018 season, as they started spring practices Saturday morning.

After an off-day Sunday, MAU was back out on Spinelli Field Monday afternoon for a practice centered on defensive fundamentals and the ever-important aspect of conditioning.

The Patriots are coming off of a 3-6 campaign, which ended with three consecutive losses.

For MAU coach Chad Gordon, who enters his second season at the helm this fall, getting most of the guys back out on the field is a great feeling with the regular season just a few short months away.

"We have a lot of guys who did spring sports and winter sports, so I know they've been active," Gordon said. "It's good to get them all back together and thinking about football. They'll be a lot of teaching this week."

The Patriots' spring practice schedule for the week finishes with a practice Tuesday and a final one on Wednesday.

Each day will have a different focus for MAU as they try to lay the groundwork for what they hope will be a strong fall season.

After working on defense Monday, the Patriots will focus on offense Tuesday and finish the week with special teams play on Wednesday.

With Week 1 of the regular season against defending Division II state champion Fair Haven still a few months away, Gordon doesn't expect his team to be game ready at this stage of the year, but he expects constant work over the summer to work up to that stage.

"We did out testing on Saturday, doing our 40 (yard dash) times. Those are baseline tests based on how they improve over the summer," Gordon said. "I put a lot of pressure on these guys to work hard over the summer. We'll do another couple conditioning tests and speed tests in August when we get started."

The essential goal is to showed marked improvement from the initial tests this week to when the preseason regimen ramps up in August.

"The focus is really on teaching and fundamentals," Gordon said. "We've gone to a lot of clinics over the winter, getting the guys learning the things we're talking about and thinking abut football."

Though Spring practice doesn't tell the whole story as to how a team will come together, it does give a barometer for players and coaches to work off of. It's a time when players can try out new things and coaches can see where the specific areas of need are as they ramp up offseason work.

With a great turnout for spring practices, the Patriots are confident with how they look heading into the summer.

"The numbers compared to previous years at spring football are up," Gordon said. "It's a good barometer of where we want to be. Guys are trying new positions. Guys grow from a freshman to a junior and they change a lot. There may be a guy, who was a good linebacker for few years, that might move to safety. Because it's training and teaching, some people may try something different and we'll give it a shot. It helps us get out feet wet and also see who fits where."

MAU's opening game against the Slaters will be on August 31 on the road. The Patriots home-opener will be the next week against Mount Abraham at Spinelli Field.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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