GLENDALE — With a chill in the air and a light mist falling, the members of the Flintridge Prep football team went back to the basics during a recent practice.
The Rebels did so differently, knowing they weren't going to compete in a game over the weekend because of a bye in the middle of their schedule.
Though first-year Coach Antonio Harrison and some of his players had mixed feelings concerning the built-in off week, they agree that the bye couldn't have come at a better time. The Rebels are 0-3-1 heading into their Prep League opener against Chadwick at 7 p.m. Friday at Occidental College.
"I don't like having a bye week because it's hard getting back into a groove, but I'm glad it's now because we can work out some of the kinks," said Harrison, whose team played to a 14-14 nonleague tie against Malibu on Oct. 1 at Occidental. "We can still work their butts to the bone and keep them conditioned.
"It's a little break from the monotony. We want to get back rolling, starting against Chadwick, and hope to continue rolling throughout league."
Last season, Flintridge Prep's bye week came during the fifth week. The Rebels were 1-3 at that juncture, They finished up 3-6 and 2-3 in league to miss the postseason.
Like Harrison, Flintridge Prep junior linebacker Lucas Kim said there are certain plusses and minuses in having an bye.
"I thought we played our best game against Malibu, but we couldn't capitalize on our [scoring] opportunities, so you want to get right back into it," Kim said. "Also, we have some guys who are banged up who get another week to get healthy.
"We can review plays and get in better shape having the week off. Coach Harrison turned it up a notch [last week] in practice."
That might be a good thing for the Rebels, who will face three league foes who are ranked in the latest CIF Southern Section Northeast Division poll. After meeting Chadwick, ranked No. 2, the Rebels will battle powerful Rio Hondo Prep (No. 5) on Oct. 23, followed by main rival Pasadena Poly (No. 8) on Oct. 29 at South Pasadena High.
Flintridge Prep will close out the regular season with league road meetings against Viewpoint on Nov. 5 and Webb on Nov. 12.
Harrison expects league to be even more difficult compared to recent seasons.
"Our expectations are to go out and shock everybody," Harrison said. "We want to be able to build off every game so that we can get better each week.
"We know that Rio Hondo Prep, Pasadena Poly and Chadwick are all going to be tough, and we will not take Webb or Viewpoint lightly. We have to be able to go out there and make a statement to everybody who we are playing."