When asked how football practice has gone so far for his team, it's didn't take Albany coach Blane Westmoreland long to come up with an answer.
"Wet," he said Friday. "We've been trying to dodge rain ever since school got back in this week. It's been a task for us being able to get in and try to get in what we need to get done in this early part of the season. This weather has just wreaked havoc on us this week, but we've still been able to get things done -- just we've kind of had to dodge lightning and rain drops. It's not as good as I'd like to do it, but I think we're going to be OK."
It's the same story for Springfield and coach Ryan Serpas.
"It's definitely affected our normal routine," Serpas said of showers that have been almost a daily occurrence for the past week or so. "We've had to have a couple of gym practices so far, and it can be frustrating because there's so many things we're trying to get done and accomplish, and you're just not able to have that same intensity and the kids kind of seem to lose focus as soon as you have to turn it into a gym practice. It has affected us, but we're still doing the best we can with it and trying to get out on the field."
Both teams will get their chance to step on the field against outside competition on Thursday as Albany hosts St. Michael in a scrimmage at 6:30 p.m., while Springfield travels to Pearl River to tangle with the host Rebels and Fontainebleau at 5:30 p.m.
Serpas and Westmoreland said they had to shift practices indoors last week, with the Hornets working in the field house and the Bulldogs heading to their gym.
"It's just a tight space," Westmoreland said. "You're still trying to teach and everything. Luckily, we've got a lot of our stuff, we feel like, installed, so it's just kind of review stuff right now.
"It did cause some issues, but not as much as it could have."
Serpas said the Bulldogs aren't changing any schemes heading into the season, but he and his staff are taking a different approach to some things.
"We're maybe teaching it a little differently -- trying to perfect everything instead of trying to overload the kids, perfect the small things, and hopefully (we'll) be able to execute it to perfection," he said.
Maybe the biggest issue for both teams is there's a possibility they could go into Friday's scrimmages facing live contact for the first time against an outside opponent because of the issues the wet weather has created.
"Hopefully they're dealing with the same amount of rainfall we are," Westmoreland said. "But if not, it possibly could breed some issues. But we feel very confident in where we're at offensively as well as defensively. It's just inability to get outside and practice. That's kind of a hindrance or aggravation really."
Serpas said his team practiced in shoulder pads late last week.
"It can definitely harm you if you're not able t get any of that contact in," he said. "There's so many things that people take for granted just with teaching contact and making sure that your kids are safe. It's definitely skill thatt I don't want to overlook, and I don't want the first time our kids hit somebody to be against somebody else. I like to be able to slow it down and be able to coach our kids through it and make sure we're doing things the right way to prevent possible injuries."
The Bulldogs will square off against a pair of teams in higher classifications -- Pearl River in 4A and Fontainebleau in 5A.
"They've got a new coach (Jarrod Danford), so I know things are going to be a little different than what the previous coaching staff had done," Serpas said of Pearl River. "He's been kind of transparent, and we've kind of tole them what we do, so everything's just kind of word-of-mouth right now trying to prepare for each other. It's just a scrimmage trying to see where we fit in at and try to go hit somebody else instead of hitting ourselves."
Serpas said he expects his team to see an Air Raid-style offense from Fontainebleau.
"We get to see multiple different schemes playing against somebody else," he said.
"Hopefully we'll find out early where we kind of stand at physically and find out what we need to improve on."
Albany will face a St. Michael team coached by former Denham Springs assistant Justin Henderson, who is in his first season with the Warriors, and Westmoreland is expecting a quality opponent.
"We really don't have a lot on them," Westmoreland said. "I know they're going to run the spread. We saw them in 7-on-7. (They're) like old St. Michael -- good athletes, well-coached, good little quarterback. We're going to be in for a tall task. We are stepping up to 4A competition against a quality 4A team. For us, it's just really a chance for us to really evaluate kind of where we are coming out of the summer, where we are as far as program-wise. You always want to have those measuring sticks. We're looking forward to playing St. Michael and Coach Hutch and them. It's going to be a good game. Hopefully the rain holds off ..."
Albany will also host a jamboree on Aug. 25 with Springfield taking on Sci Academy at 6 p.m. and Albany squaring off with Salmen at 7 p.m.