Time will tell if the Texas A&M football team can handle the heat of the Southeastern Conference West race, but the Aggies have negotiated the Texas heat in fall camp with ease. The preparation started during summer workouts.
“That’s why in the summer we try to train in the middle of heat,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said after practice Saturday. “We want to train in the heat and get ‘em out there because you gotta be in it; you gotta play in it.”
Getting acclimated to the heat wasn’t a problem in the 1980s when Fisher played at Salem and Samford because youth spent the majority of their time outside.
“There was nothing to do inside, except Mom put you to work or Dad put you to work,” Fisher said. “So you were just trying to get away from the house and go play.”
A&M’s support personnel has helped today’s inside-oriented youth prepare to withstand the year’s hottest days via conditioning and diet. The team also does its stretching and walkthrough work in the air-conditioned McFerrin Center before moving outside to the Coolidge practice fields. The temperature approached 100 degrees in A&M’s first two workouts and topped 90 on Saturday. The team caught a break for Sunday practice, which started after thunderstorms passed through.
A&M’s approach to fall camp has helped the incoming freshmen, who have pleased Fisher so far with their effort.
“All the new guys have pretty much have done a good job; they really have,” Fisher said, adding that a specific player or two haven’t stood out from the rest. “Maybe it’s because they’re all doing pretty decent.”
A&M worked out Sunday in shells (shoulder pads, helmets and shorts) for the second straight day. The Aggies will don full pads Monday.
Players aren’t the only ones getting in shape in fall camp. Several game officials typically work each practice. Sunday’s group included Cal McNeill, executive vice president for The Bank & Trust, who works the Mountain West and Big 12 Conferences. Those leagues offer a wide range of possible weather conditions. McNeill called last year’s 35-27 victory by Wyoming over Air Force when the temperature at kickoff was 19 degrees with winds at 19 mph with snow showers. When the game reached the fourth quarter, Laramie, Wyoming, was under a winter weather watch.
Even though A&M sophomore fullback Ben Miles left the team and entered the NCAA transfer portal with intent on playing at Kansas for his father, former LSU coach Les Miles, the Aggies have the maximum 110 players in camp. The limit had been 105 until last season. Other players can join the team when school starts on Aug. 26.