Dustin Fry considered Polk County’s spring skill development sessions a good avenue for Wolverine players to get to better know how the program will operate under the first-year head coach.
To an extent.
“All I’m looking for out of this is just to get them to know what I’m about, what our coaching staff is going to be about, get a little bit of the lay of the land, how the plays are going to be,” Fry said following Wednesday’s session.
“I told them yesterday that this is Camp Cupcake right now in spring. It’s good weather, it’s not very hard and physical right now. A lot of teaching, and it will crank up once fall starts. But just a good introduction right now.”
The Wolverines conclude their spring schedule on Thursday, though that will be a more limited session due to player absences and sports physicals being conducted on campus. Fry and coaches led the team through a workout in G.M. Tennant Stadium on Wednesday of almost two hours, continuing the process of shaping the squad for the August 18 season opener against Madison.
That home debut may be almost three months away, but Fry knows the on-field preparation time for that opener is actually limited.
“I told the guys earlier this week that counting spring and counting fall camp, we’re around 17 practices from the first game,” he said. “We have very limited time and we’ve got a long way to go. I keep telling them that if day two is better than day one and day three is better than day two and we can just keep getting better, we’ll be okay.
“They’ve done that this spring. Each day has been better than the last, and that’s really all you can ask. They’re giving the effort. We’ve still got to coach some guys a little bit, they’re not used to having to run everywhere sometimes. But they’re buying in and there’s not a lot of kickback on that.”
Polk County will move into its summer schedule beginning June 12, and Fry is most excited about that. The Wolverines will focus on strength and conditioning throughout the summer, concluding with a minicamp in late July before the start of fall practice on July 31.
“To me, summer is the most important thing for any football team,” Fry said. “For one, you grind and sweat and bleed as teaemmates, and in those conditioning drills in the weight room, that’s where we really become a team.
“We’re going to be doing some team competition and competing on Friday mornings this summer. So getting that blood going a little bit. I want to hear trash talk and I want guys to get those juices going. That’s what we need, where we get good against good and guys get fired up and wanting their team to win.
“Summer is huge for me. It’s when we get in shape so we’re able to go into day one, day two of fall camp and we’re ready to go.”
Named in Feburary to replace longtime head coach Bruce Ollis, Fry has been begun settling into the routine of leading the Wolverine program after serving as an assistant last season. That has included leading a weightlifting class each afternoon and also working with Ollis on the transition.
“Coach Ollis has helped me a ton,” Fry said. “My phone number list has grown tremendously since he sent me everybody. ‘Hey, this is your guy for this, this is your guy for this.’ He’s been awesome and has helped me a lot.
“I’ve enjoyed getting back in and doing weightlifting, creating schedules and creating lifting programs. I’m doing what I enjoy as a coach, which is strategizing, coaching, teaching. That’s what I enjoy doing as a coach, and I’m getting to do a bit of all of it here.”