Ball State's football team completed its fourth practice of Fall Camp Saturday on the game field at Scheumann Stadium.
Second-year head coach Pete Lembo answered a few questions about Fall Camp for all the program's fans.
Q: Practice No. 4 is complete, can you give the fans an idea of what the student-athlete's schedule is like for a typical day in Fall Camp.
We keep them busy from 7 or 8 a.m. in the morning until 10 p.m. or so, depending on the schedule for the day. During these first several days of single practices, we have a combination of weight training and meetings or meetings only in the mornings. This is followed by lunch and practice in the afternoon. In the evenings, we are meeting again after dinner. A typical block of meetings includes a full team meeting, a special teams meeting and position meetings. We also dedicate a half hour at night for team building activities. The assistant coaches will sometimes conduct a 'walk through' as part of their meeting agenda. Different players learn different ways, so we expect our coaches to be ready to teach with a combination of video, playbook, walk through, white board and PowerPoint. The best meetings are interactive and we expect our players to be able to share their thoughts. Most of the meetings are football or program oriented, but we all incorporate several personal development sessions to break up the football pieces during preseason. For example, on Monday, the guys will take part in a presentation on etiquette.
Q: Talk a little bit about the difference in practicing on the Practice Fields and in Scheumann Stadium and the reasoning behind switching venues on different days.
With 104 players in preseason camp, it is nice to be able to utilize the grass practice fields behind the Fisher Complex and spread out a little bit. We will typically use the Stadium for morning practices when the grass can be a little slick. We also come into the stadium for night practices to get used to the lights. So, in the afternoons, we often go on grass during preseason. Once we close fall camp, we are usually back in the stadium every day. Of course, we have the indoor Field and Sports Facility if we ever encounter really bad weather. Last fall, we used it three or four times throughout the course of the season.
Q: You have talked about the physical conditioning of the players, how important is the work of strength coach David Feeley and the athletic training staff to be sure the student-athletes are fed and hydrated properly in Fall Camp.
This is the 10th year the NCAA current model for preseason practices has been in place. I like it because of the additional meeting time, but it is also helpful because you can dedicate extensive time to weight training throughout preseason camp. We will weight train 12 times between the day we reported and the opening game against Eastern Michigan. This enables our players to maintain the strength and weight they have built over the summer. It also helps with their flexibility once they get sore from practicing. Hydration is also critical and we are constantly educating our student-athletes as to how much they should be drinking on a daily basis and at meals. We are fortunate to have numerous student trainers at every practice. Each position group has a student trainer assigned to it to help with hydration. We have a sound system in place and we have not had any issues so far, despite the heat and humidity.
The Cardinals will continue preparations for the season opener vs. Eastern Michigan, which is a 7 p.m. home game at Scheumann Stadium in 26 days. Ball State opens the season Thurs., Aug. 30 vs. the Eagles in a Mid-American Conference match-up.
The Cardinals posted a 6-6 overall record last season, including a 27-20 season-opening victory over Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the home of the National Football League's Indianapolis Colts.
Remaining Fall Camp practice schedule is as follows:
Sun., Aug. 5 (2:15 p.m.)
Mon., Aug. 6 (7:15 p.m.)
Tues., Aug. 7 (Paint the Town Red in Downtown Muncie - no practice)
Wed., Aug. 8 (8 a.m. and 7:15 p.m.)
Thurs., Aug. 9 (2:15 p.m.)
Fri., Aug. 10 (8 a.m. and 7:15 p.m.)
Sat., Aug. 11 (Fan Jam - no practice)
Sun., Aug. 12 (8 a.m. and 7:15 p.m.)
Mon., Aug. 13 (2:15 p.m.)
Tues., Aug. 14 (8 a.m. and 7:15 p.m.)
Wed., Aug. 15 (No Practice)
Thurs., Aug. 16 (2:15 p.m.)
Fri., Aug. 17 (2:15 p.m.)
Sat., Aug. 18 (2:15 p.m.)
Sun., Aug. 19 (8 a.m.)