Hard at work

Talladega linemen work on blocking drills last week during the first week of fall camp. The Tigers open the season Aug. 30 against Munford at Mary Dumas Stadium.

The first two weeks of fall practice have been filled with learning for head coach Shannon Felder and Talladega. 

Felder, who was hired in late July, has spent the first weeks of camp installing and teaching his offensive and defensive systems. The veteran coach is pleased with the progress his team has made, but he knows the Tigers still have some work to do before the season kicks off Aug. 30 against Munford.

“It has been going good,” Felder said. “It’s been very busy; it has been a lot of learning and a lot of teaching. It has been a lot of where to place people. 

“Some people are playing the same position that they played last year and some people are in different places than they were last year. We are trying to create some depth. 

“We have been extremely busy trying to get ready. The season is (quickly) approaching. We don’t have a lot of time left, but we still have time to get things right. We are not ready to play, I can tell you that.”

Talladega has really focused on offense throughout the first two weeks. 

Felder and his longtime offensive coordinator, Paul Farlow, have spent the majority of the camp teaching their spread attack and seeing who fits what position.

“Every day, we set aside time for some pass plays and a couple of running plays; the linemen are going to learn new blocking techniques,” Felder said. “We put together a plan and we have been working the plan. So far, I have been pleased with it. 

“It is easier to pick up defense than offense. We don’t run a complex defense; we are going to run multiple sets. It was more important to get our offense in. We can get our defense in on the back end of it.”

Wednesday was the first day the Tigers were in full pads. Felder was pleased everyone came away healthy.

“Thank God nobody was hurt,” he said. “You always fear going too hard in practice that someone is going to get hurt. At the same time, if you don’t go a little bit, the guys are not ready to play; it is always a fine line. 

“Anytime we are going hard like we did (Wednesday), I am always worried and concerned.”

Felder has been preaching leadership. Felder said finding leaders will be vital to Talladega’s success this season.

“I have noticed a few guys that are starting to embrace that role as leaders,” he said. “I am hoping that some other guys will continue to do the same. We talked to the guys about the importance of leadership and the importance of their role. Whether they are a starter or someone that doesn’t play a down, you can still be a leader.”

Felder has been impressed with the support the community has shown since he has taken the job. Felder was impressed with the turnout by the community when the team held a cleanup last Saturday. 

“Everything has been nice; we are just trying to make it a little bit nicer than it was when we got here,” he said. “Everybody has been good, positive, encouraging, supportive and excited. I am super excited myself. I am happy to be here and I am happy to have the opportunity to be the head football coach of this school and program. I plan on working hard and doing the best job that I can do.”

Felder knows in order to keep community morale high, he is going to have to lead the Tigers to some wins.

“Sometimes you wish you had more time, but as I said before, I am not a guy that makes excuses,” he said. “I never have and I never will. 

“At the end of the day, the people that come watch the game on Friday, they don’t care if I got hired 15 minutes before kickoff. The only thing they care about is how the team performs and whether we win or lose. 

“At the end of the day, they want to know when it is all said and done if we are in the playoffs. If we are in the playoffs, I think they will be happy.”