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Cougars working hard for 2011 season

Metal weights are clanging and players are panting as the Escambia Academy Cougars football team continues to progress in their summer workouts.

The Cougars are in the early stages of their 37 workouts (players are required to make 32), which will conclude with a team camp on July 28.

As players make it to morning and afternoon workouts, Cougars head coach Heath Gibson and his coaching staff are looking to see how many players will stick it out.

“Things have gone well for us so far,” Gibson said. “We have 30 to 35 kids each day, which is a great ratio because we finished spring training with 36.”

The Cougars workout Monday through Thursday with sessions each morning beginning at 7:30 a.m. and in the afternoon at 3 p.m.

Gibson wants his players at every workout to make sure their bodies are in the proper shape for working in the heat.

t it for two to two and a half hours each day,” he said. “The kids are working hard, and it’s important for them to get this work in, so that their bodies are in the right shape before we camp on July 28.”

The Cougars are using this time in their workouts to develop more lower body strength to help with their quickness and explosive moves.

Gibson said building lower body strength will be important heading into fall practice.

“We are basically trying to build up our lower body muscles,” he said. “They have been doing a lot of work to build strength to improve quickness as well as their muscles that produce explosive moves. This is important for our guys to be able to be step for step with the teams we are playing”

Another area of concern for the Cougars has been the shoulder area.

Last season, the Cougars had four players have their seasons end due to shoulder surgeries.

For that reason, Gibson has had his players focusing on strengthing the muscles in their shoulders.

“With our upper body workouts, we have really been working to strengthen shoulders,” he said. “Losing four guys to shoulder surgeries last season really hurt us.”

The workouts have been having an effect on the Cougars as the coaches have seen progress from their players.

Gibson said he can see the development being made by each player at the workouts.

“We’ve seen a lot of progress made from our kids,” he said. “From spring training up until this point, I’ve seen the difference in their upper and lower body strength. They are excited about putting in the work and its paying off.”