“We got on it Monday, and it had to be the hottest day of the year,” Lamb told members of the Calhoun Rotary Club.
The AstroTurf surface is 10 to 15 degrees hotter than a grass field.
“Monday we had kids falling out and one coach went to the emergency room, but Tuesday was better,” Lamb said. “Tuesday night we had a good hard rain, and Wednesday’s practice was even better.”
“The kids love it. It’s a good surface, and we are looking forward to getting on it and playing on it,” he said.
Lamb told the Rotarians that Friday, the team — and the new field — will get its first real test when Rome High comes in for a scrimmage.
“We aren’t going to show a whole lot, but it will give us a chance to look at some of our kids,” Lamb said.
And with 101 players on the roster — the largest team Lamb has ever had — he said he needs to do a lot of looking.
“We don’t even have enough jersey numbers to dress everyone out,” he said.
Lamb said Friday’s scrimmage will be a good opportunity to evaluate the 2009 Yellow Jackets.
“The jury is still out on this football team,” he said. “On paper, we look as good as we ever have talentwise, but paper does not win you any football games.”
Lamb declined to make a prediction about another Region 7-AA championship but said, “top to bottom the region will be as good as it’s ever been.”
He said he expects Adairsville to be improved, adding, “Chattooga always has good athletes. I know that Sonoraville and Gordon Central will be better this year, too.”
Looking toward the start of the season, Lamb said three early games against non-region opponents — Dalton, Ridgeland and Cartersville — will give him a sense of where the team is before the Jackets start region play.
“Dalton is always strong, and this year they will have a good team with a lot of skilled players. Ridgeland lost a lot of key players and may not be as good as they were last year,” he said. “Cartersville is always Cartersville. They are going to be good.
“But in the long run, playing some tough teams early helps us. It did last year.”
Offensively, Lamb said the Yellow Jackets will mix the running and passing games much as they did last year.
“We’re deeper at running back, and we have two of the best quarterbacks I have ever coached,” he said. “We’re not as deep at wide receiver.”
Defensively, the Jackets will not be as big but Lamb said they will be faster. “I feel good about our defense,” he said.
Read Saturday's Calhoun Times for a story and pictures from Friday's scrimmage and check out Gridiron Central for a video