FAIRFIELD — Wearing a red T-shirt instead of a green one isn’t the only thing new Fairfield High football coach David Fishleigh has to get used to.
After a three-year stint from 2006-08 at Rodriguez in which there were more than 100 players in the program, Fishleigh, in his first year with the Falcons, had roughly half that number between the varsity and junior varsity squads the first two days of practice Monday and Tuesday.
“We’re coming along,” Fishleigh said after Tuesday’s workout at Schaefer Stadium. “It’s a little different from being head coach at Rodriguez because of a little bit lower numbers. We have to structure practices differently, but it’s coming along quite well.”
Fishleigh said he’s had to alter practices a little because there aren’t as many players that need to get worked into the flow of things.
“We’ve lightened up the practice load,” the coach said. “It’s hard to go four hours with 30 guys. There’s more of the conditioning in practice items, instead of conditioning at the end. We practice up tempo.”
Each player in the Sac-Joaquin Section has to complete two days of conditioning before being allowed to put on full gear. That meant workouts Monday and Tuesday were conducted in T-shirts, shorts and helmets.
Most of the Falcons will be in pads on Wednesday, which is also the first day of classes. Fishleigh is interested to see how the clash of those two events pans out.
“I think with the first day of school and the first day of pads, it’s definitely going to be the most challenging day of the year,” he said.
The last time the Falcons were in pads was during their summer camp at Antioch July 9-11.
It was at the camp that Fishleigh saw flashes of hope, something missing during last year’s 1-8 campaign in which the Falcons suited up as few as 20 players, arguably their smallest squad ever.
“I think the kids were really receptive to what we’re doing (at the camp), they bought into it,” Fishleigh said. “The success we had at camp really accelerated that progress.”
Vanden, the city’s other Solano County Athletic Conference team, went through two different days of practice to start things off, one solid block on Monday and two separate workouts on Tuesday, the first starting at 6 a.m.
“They’ve gone very well, the guys are pretty much where they left off in the summer,” Vanden coach LeVon Haynes said. “The leadership and everything’s been wonderful. The first day was getting the cob webs out, like most teams.”
According to Haynes, the Vikings, who were 4-6 in 2012, had approximately 45 varsity players and a like number for the JV squad the first two days.
And like Fishleigh, Haynes greatly anticipates Wednesday’s first workout in pads, though the Vikings players don’t have to worry about school starting until next week.
“I think the tempo will pick up because they’re anxious, it’s what they’re here for, what they want to do,” Haynes said. “They don’t want to be in helmets T-shirts and shorts. They want to be in pads. Anybody can look like an All-American in a helmet, T-shirt and shorts. Anyone can fly around. We’re looking for the real guys, the doers. We’re getting ready for the next couple weeks, scrimmages, jamborees and home opener on Sept. 6.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.