All I can say after a week of 100-degree days is TGIF…
• PADS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE — The pads were popping Thursday at McPherson High football practice.
The Bullpups donned their armor for the first time after three days of just shorts and helmets.
Of course, Mother Nature did not relent and water breaks were the order of the day. The MHS coaching staff is well aware just how much they have to keep their players hydrated as we're in the midst of a seemingly endless heat wave. We could use some of those 80-degree days that marked much of July.
Putting on the pads does make a difference. This could be a much more physical Bullpup team than I first envisioned.
Coach Tom Young is excited about the speed of his defense. While the front four won't have the size of past Bullpup teams, there's a lot of speed, not to mention more depth. Defensive coordinator Jace Pavlovich should have a nice rotation to work with. Hopefully, the Bullpups won't have to play too many players both ways. However, during AVCTL Media Day, Young said his goal is to have his best athletes on the field.
I still see a few areas of concern, such as depth at running back. Nathan Nutter and Ty Hart will be the primary toters of the pig and both have a physical presence. I liken Hart to Dwayne Chandler, as he at times can make it look so easy. Nutter runs with ferocity and some attitude. I could even see some sets where maybe Nutter is at fullback leading Hart.
While neither may possess the speed of an Austin O'Bannon or Kevin O'Connor, past MHS backs, I think the Bullpups have the potential for a punishing ground game. Don't forget, quarterback Kyler Kinnamon is coming off a season in which he broke the MHS single-season rushing record with 1,662 yards.
For those who are early risers, the Bullpups will be practicing at McPherson Stadium from 7 to 9:45 a.m. Saturday, which will be highlighted by a scrimmage. Fans are welcomed to sit in the bleachers.
Of course, the Bullpups will be under the lights next Friday night for the annual Fall Sports Preview. More on that will be posted next week.
• MID KANSAS SPORTS MAGAZINE OFF TO THE PRINTER — The final changes have been made and now it's in the hands of the printer.
The Mid Kansas Sports Magazine — the Fall Preview edition — will soon be on the streets.
Included are team previews and schedules of all the high school teams in our area. Included are McPherson High, Canton-Galva, Elyria Christian, Hesston, Inman, Little River, Moundridge and Smoky Valley.
As always, Kendall Shaw's amazing photos are included. The plan is for the FREE magazine, if everything goes swimmingly, to be available at the Fall Sports Preview on Aug. 29 at McPherson Stadium.
Also, copies of the magazine will be delivered to the seven area schools, who can make them available to the athletes and fans who want them.
Don't forget, the magazine also can be picked up at the KNGL-KBBE office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 411 E. Euclid. There are limited copies, so make plans to stop by once we announce when they are here.
Special thanks goes to the coaches who took time out of their busy schedules to respond to our requests. I've been doing this for 36 years and this was one of the smoothest publications to date. Big thanks goes to Todd Huddle at McPherson Business Solutions for all his time and effort.
• ROYALS NOW DOOMED? — Leave it to Sports Illustrated to rain on the Kansas City Royals’ parade.
On Wednesday, the latest edition of SI hit the newsstands. Later that night, the Royals and pitcher Danny Duffy were seemingly in control, before a rare Christian Colon error led to a grand slam home run and a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Sports Illustrated is well known for its cover jinx. In a recent edition, it chronicled the various times it put a player or team on the cover, only to see an immediate negative impact occur.
The Royals have been baseball’s hottest team, having won 22 of their last 28 games to vault 1 1/2 games ahead of Detroit. You can bet, however, the press covering the team will immediately be asking the Royals about the famed cover jinx if they happen to lose three or four in a row.
And it will happen. No team can remain on the pace of the Royals. My big concern is how they react when the hitters go back into a funk, like they did in the first four games after the All-Star break when they dropped to two games under .500.
I don’t believe in jinxes, but I wish Sports Illustrated would have picked another victim.