I sat down and talked with head coach Patrick Etherton today for a story in the H&R. We discussed the differences between last season and this year as far as he and his staff having more time to prepare for Week 1 at Greenville.
Etherton and I had a great conversation and some of the topics we discussed just couldn’t fit into the story.
So, hooray Internet!
The most interesting thing we talked about not in the story was how the second-year coach runs his practices.
With less of an emphasis on conditioning, Etherton orchestrates short but intense practices.
Each day’s practice is broken up into 10 minute segments and usually lasts no more than 2 hours and 15 minutes.
In his words:
Our practices are not very long. We don’t practice more than two and a half hours ever. We practice 2 hours, 15 minutes for the most part but we practice with a high intensity level. We try and get two plays in, in a minute.
We just try to put our guys in situations that are uncomfortable for them with the speed of how things are happening.
The faster we make it in practice the slower it will be on Saturdays.
Our guys offensively know that we can speed things up. And defensively our guys will face a lot of no-huddle teams — Greenville runs the no-huddle — so we try to get them in a fast tempo so they are used to reacting.
So we practice really fast. Our guys are never standing around.
We don’t condition. We don’t run at the end (of practice) unless we need to — if we’re not doing stuff we should be. But we believe that our guys are running so much during practice they shouldn’t have to. As long as they are practicing the way they should, we should never have to condition.
The pace of practice is really fast, so they’re not out there for 3 and a half hours and they’re tired and we’re tired.
So far it’s been great.