Inside an air-conditioned classroom and on the sun-splashed field, the Hoover High football team was eager to learn.
Before heading to the field during the middle of a warm afternoon, about 35 players had packed the classroom and jotted down diagrams of the plays in spiral notebooks. Then the Tornadoes bolted to the field and began executing the plays during a summer ball session.
“That’s the main thing about summer ball and why it’s so important; you have more opportunity to get things down pat and it puts you in position to succeed,” Hoover second-year coach Terrance Jones said. “You want to see people catching on to different things on both sides of the ball and you look to build cohesiveness.
“I think summer ball is definitely one of the most important times of the year.”
The summer session began June 11 and will wrap up July 13. Hoover finished 2-8, 1-6 in the Pacific League for sixth place last season. The Tornadoes will kick off their season Aug. 17 with a nonleague game on campus against La Cañada.
Jones said the summer will likely serve as an early audition for many of the players, some of whom will be playing on both sides of the ball once the season begins.
“You want to make sure everybody is paying attention, so they are ready to properly go through the drills,” Jones said. “There’s definitely going to be a lot of competition at many of the positions, so here’s their chance.
“We want to see the smartest players on the field. You don’t necessarily have to be one of the best players.”
James Chang, a senior running back/receiver, agreed.
“You are trying to find that consistency right away in the summer and you always want to try to find ways to make yourself and your teammates better,” said Chang, who earned All-Area and all-league recognition last season after finishing with six touchdowns and 53 tackles. “Plus, it’s an opportunity to build relationships with a lot of the new players and trying to help them adjust.”
Jones will begin to form a starting lineup, either by the end of July or early August.
Shawn Ferreras, a senior tackle, said there will be plenty of challenges ahead for the Tornadoes.
“Everybody that’s been out here during the summer is giving it their all and they want to make a good impression,” Ferreras said. “They want to be a difference maker.