Miners have bad air day, start practice inside | TheUnion.com

Miners have bad air day, start practice inside

Bad air? Bad timing.

The first day of official practice for Nevada Union High School sports was halted by the district due to poor air quality.

Nevada Union’s football team met inside for a brief period Monday, shedding pads instead of tacklers. The day gave players and coaches an unplanned opportunity to go over some formations and discuss general themes that will be heard time and again like mantras as the football programs gear up to tackle a new conference – the Metro League.

“We’ve had these kind of days for the last couple of years, with air quality issues,” NU varsity football coach Dave Humphers said. “We did what we could do in the gym, and hopefully the air clears out.”

NU had an estimated 55 varsity football players, and 35 junior varsity and freshmen turned out for the anticipated first day of practice. The light day also gave coaches a chance to check with players to make sure all of the necessary paperwork for players was in order for the 2002 season.

“It was good and bad,” said senior center Mark Ryan of Monday’s change of plans. “You have to get used to after school, and practicing until six at night. We didn’t get a chance to hit the sled, which was disappointing, but hopefully tomorrow or the next day we will be out there.”

NU opens play with a scrimmage against St. Mary’s of Stockton in Stockton on Sept. 7. The first pre-season game is also on the road – Sept. 13 against Merced. The first home game for the Miners this year will be against Vintage Sept. 20.

There will be some new teams on the schedule for NU this season, including Woodland and Kennedy, a game which will be contested at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento.

Half of NU’s athletic programs played in the Metro League the past two years; this year, all of Nevada Union’s athletic programs leave the Capital Athletic League behind for the re-structured Metro League.

“When you play the same coach and same school for the seventh or eighth straight year, you get to know their style and what to expect in a certain situation,” Humphers said. “So, playing against new opponents brings a whole other level of preparation in terms of getting to know their style. That will be a positive, with some new challenges on the schedule.”

In addition to a new conference, this year’s Miners will also feature a few new faces on the varsity coaching staff. Brian Coalson, who played for NU in the mid-Nineties, will work with the Miners as the outside linebacking coach. Geno Stephan returns to work with interior defensive linemen and Scott Weygandt will coach inside linebackers.

Rayce Lucas, from Placer High School, has joined the Miners as the defensive end coach.

Lucas fired up the team Monday with a speech that laid out in no uncertain terms his expectations for his players, and what they can expect in return.

“He has brought intensity since day one, said senior defensive lineman Eric Harvey. “It is great to have him on board.”

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