By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
There are two weeks until the start of the MACJC football season.
And first-year head coach Sean Cannon of the Itawamba Community College Indians is beginning to get a look at his complete squad of players as the clock ticks toward the opening kickoff.
“The biggest thing in these first days is having the team learn to play hard,” said Cannon, who was the defensive coordinator for ICC for four seasons before being promoted to the head coaching job early during the summer months. “I think this is a challenge for every coach in our league or at the college level.
“Every player has to play hard every snap at this level.”
Both Itawamba and the Northeast Tigers, the other junior college in this corner of Mississippi, open their respective seasons on the road Aug. 28.
Itawamba will be at Copiah-Lincoln, while Northeast is will be at Mississippi Gulf Coast. Between now and that Aug. 28 date, Cannon will be cramming the 2014 Indians with situational drills, and eventually a game plan for Co-Lin.
Both Itawamba and Northeast tied at 4-2 in North Division play last season.
“The rest of this week, we’ll be working on things we don’t get a chance to work on when the season starts,” said Cannon, who plans to retain his defensive coordinator duties this season. “We’ll be working on a lot of fundamentals this week.
“We’ll be putting the team in various situations, scenarios. And we’ll push our conditioning this week. Right now it is ICC versus ICC, then we’ll start working on game planning the first week that classes start.”
Certainly this is Cannon’s first August of having to spend time on both sides of the football, but he likes what he sees at this early point on the calendar.
Good chemistry
“I have liked our team chemistry in practice,” Cannon said. “They’ve done a good job of bonding, and the veteran players are showing the freshman what to do.
“But we’re already getting a bit tired of each other.”
Northeast plays its first home game on Sept. 4 against Hinds. ICC doesn’t play a home game until Sept. 11 against Holmes.
“I’m excited about getting the new guys in pads, and see how the team is jelling,” Northeast coach Ricky Smither said prior to his Tigers reporting on Monday. “I think we look good on paper, it is just how we transfer that to the field.”