A few years ago, Danville High School played its second varsity football game after being in school for two days.
This season, the Vikings will have nearly two full weeks in the classroom before they play a game.
School calendars have changed -- throughout the entire area -- as many districts try to complete the first semester before Christmas Break. Many News-Gazette area schools will be in session, at least for the teachers, by Monday, Aug. 18.
For football coaches, that translates into a dilemma. In past years, they've had at least a week and sometimes up to 10 days for two-a-day workouts. This year that has been reduced to four days at many locations, with the first two days being held without pads.
The good news -- if there's any such thing -- is that the majority of the schools are in this situation so there's no disadvantage from a competitive standpoint for those who find themselves in the classroom so early.
Some coaches are being creative once school starts. They will not only schedule an after-school practice, but will ask their players to return in the evening for an after-dinner practice.
It's never too early for coaches to express their optimism for the upcoming season.
One of the best perspectives I've heard thus far comes from Westville football coach Guy Goodlove, who has directed the Tigers into state championship games each of the past two seasons.
Looking ahead, he said, "The cupboard is not exactly bare, but I'm not sure how much is in there."
He, and other coaches, will start finding out what they can expect next Wednesday. Aug. 13 is the first date for high school fall-sport athletic teams to begin practicing.
Opening night for IHSA football teams is Aug. 29. There will be a plethora of games for fans to consider attending that evening.