The Sacred Heart football team had a few more days of practice under its belt as it officially started football Aug. 1.

But that isn’t the only time the Tigers have been working. During the summer, they participated in a 7-on-7 tournament with teams several classifications higher than them.

They hit the weight room and have bonded as a team and according to head coach Dale Schilling, they are ready to take a step forward this season.

“Everything went great,” Schilling said. “The kids continued to work out all summer when 7-on-7 was over. We still had about another month to work out and we had a great turnout. They worked hard. I have no complaints about this summer and we got a whole lot stronger. The biggest thing is the team concept, camaraderie, keeping everybody together. The kids just worked together and had each other’s back and we have a very good team concept right now.”

Schilling said it is important to not skip the first steps of the process of getting ready for the season, but he has higher expectations for his team this year.

“We’re going very, very basic,” Schilling said. “We’re taking baby steps. Last year, I always could say we were young. Yeah, we’re not young anymore. We’re adding a few things every day. We’re concerned about learning fundamentals, taking the right steps and having your eyes up in your stance — all those little things. We’re doing a lot of a lot of one-on-one stuff before we do actual pass catching and things like that. We will make sure you know your route and your steps.”

Before the Tigers can worry about playing other teams, Schilling said they need to build on their foundation.

“It’s all about knowing your assignment,” Schilling said. “If you know your assignment, you’re going to do things fast and we have to eliminate confusion. It’s about knowing where you’re supposed to be and and where to be if you’re on the defensive line, a linebacker, the secondary, whatever. We’re concentrating so much on alignment.”

The Tigers travel to Alvord at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, for their first scrimmage of the season and while Schilling isn’t overly concerned about the results, he knows Alvord will be a good challenge for them.

“It’ll be a big test,” Schilling said. “They’re public school Class 2A Division 1. We have 22 players, so it’ll be it’ll be a good test for us. I’m so much more worried about fundamentals and things like that. Success is great, but it’s more about it’s a glorified practice. We’re really concentrating on making sure everybody’s getting pretty much the same amount of reps, whether you’re a starter or as a backup.”

Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip

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