Monday’s torrential rain didn’t deter the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats from practice. It was muddy, wet and far from ideal conditions.
But football is rarely played in environments that are considered ideal. Last season was littered with postponements and cancellations of games due to severe weather.
All North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding has to do is channel back to last season’s road trip to Jonesboro.
That game was pushed back to Saturday after the Charging Wildcats and Hurricanes were postponed due to lightning.
“We played awful,” Bolding said of that game against a talented Jonesboro team.
The Charging Wildcats showed what Bolding and his staff are focusing on in the final days of preseason. Mental toughness.
“When you are tired, you get sloppy, you lose focus,” Bolding said. “You lose intensity, and attention to detail. You stop doing the little things. We’ve been harping on that since January.”
Pushing the mental toughness envelope is a key ingredient for the North Little Rock in Bolding’s philosophy.
“We want to push them to play with the same intensity on every play,” Bolding said. “Maximum effort, maximum speed.”
Monday’s rain helped in that process.
“We got out there and we didn’t throw the ball well at all,” Bolding said. “We have to perform when it’s 30 degrees and a 30 mile per hour wind and a sideways rain.”
There were other factors in North Little Rock’s Monday woes.
Bolding said his offensive line has to get better.
“When you have two or three that aren’t performing,” Bolding said, “it makes the entire effort collapse.”
North Little Rock’s offensive line is key to the success of their offense.
“Our backs are doing really well,” Bolding said, “but you can be the best back in the world, and the offensive line is still key. We have to get movement up front, and right now we aren’t getting a lot of power out of our line.”
North Little Rock faces Lake Hamilton in their season opener.