By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– On the first day of camp, it was a typical summer day in Salem: sunny and hot.
But Day Two of camp, it was a different ball game.
It resembled more of a mild, rainy October afternoon in the Northeast corner of Oregon’s State Capital.
But, for the boys in Green and Gold, the rain is just a friendly reminder of whats to come when October rolls around.
“It’s nice, especially with McKay, we’re the last 6A school with a real grass field,” started Matt Jarding. “So we have to be able to play on these muddy and wet conditions, we got to have that advantage against opponents that play on turf.”
Regardless the elements that Mother Nature was throwing out at the Royals Scots, or what the calendar said, they went after it like any other practice.
You saw familiar faces like Jarding running around the outfield of the McKay Baseball Field. You even saw new faces out there like Khyler Beach, who’s looking to make an impact playing high school football for the first time.
“It’s really exciting, I’ve been out of it so I’m a little rusty right now, but getting back into what I love to do,” said Beach.
Overall, though it’s only been two days into this camp, New Head Coach Josh Riddell is enjoying how the team is accepting the challenge that him and the coaching staff is throwing their way.
“I think it’s going good, they’re learning a lot right now. We’re throwing a lot at them,” said Riddell. “We’re trying to install our whole offense in five days as well as most of our defense, so they’re learning a lot; but they’re getting after it, they’re competing which is fun to see.
“They’re enjoying their time being out here and being around the kids. It’s good.”
Although intense, the kids still competing like it was Wednesday of Week 1 of the season. Joking around and picking each other up, while challenging each other.
Now, despite the ‘average’ practice atmosphere; the five days worth of practice for these ‘veterans’, these practices have more of a camp feel to them.
That’s because the Scots are staying on home turf, or grass, for these practices for camp instead of going to a multi-team camp over the summer.
“We just want to get everybody at one place and just learn our offense and learn our defense,” said Riddell. “We said, ‘hey, let’s make camp this week. Let’s install our stuff, lets get everybody here’ and at least get them excited for football; and I think we’re doing that as a staff and we’re doing that with the kids.
“The kids are excited and it’s getting other kids excited.”
Jarding said that, after the second day practice, that he liked the tempo from day two compare to day one.
“The first day was kind of slow but that was to be expected, we have a lot of new changes. We have a new offense, a new head coach, some new coaches; we weren’t sure what to expect,” said Jarding.“But I felt like today we picked up the tempo a lot.”
And McKay only has room to go and to grow with this tempo with three day’s left of their summer camp.
For Riddell, split up the camp with five day’s going with the sophomores through seniors, Wednesday through Friday and Monday and Tuesday; while the incoming freshman get July 13-15.
“They’re going to learn all of our basic run concepts, our basic pass concepts and then our basic defensive concepts,” said Riddell on the freshman. “And they’re going to be taught by the Varsity and JV coaches, so they’re going to be learning the same stuff the older guys are learning, I think that’s real important.”
As practice comes to a close, and the next wave of rain comes creeping on in after a short dry spell, you can sense already the confidence building within the Campus of one McKay High School after the second day of camp.
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PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)