BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - AHSAA football began practicing in full pads on Wednesday and new Pinson Valley head coach Sam Shade believes it was much needed.
Practicing in full pads is what Pinson Valley wide receiver GaQuincy McKinstry has been looking forward to since last December.
“It felt really good. I’ve been waiting on this day, we got a little tackling in today at the end of practice,” the four-star recruit said.
Shade, who took over the two-time 6A state champs in February, believes coaching a new team in the middle of COVID-19 has been a tough transition.
“With COVID-19, I think it’s been a tough transition for any coach no matter how long a guy’s been coaching or where he’s been coaching,” the former NFL and Alabama football star said.
But having days like Wednesday to evaluate his team in full pads gives him comfort that he's building a team.
“He pushes us everyday and challenges us. We just come out and go with whatever he says,” said Pinson Valley defensive end James Perkins.
“Coach Shade is a good coach, He teaches me everything on the defensive side. I always ask him techniques I can use and I try to do them to the best of my ability,” added McKinstry.
“Not having spring practice and all that and having to deal with COVID and the different guidelines, our world has changed a bunch, but we are of a long way away from knowing how good we can be,” added Shade.
The Indians are ranked third in the Alabama Sports Writers Association preseason rankings in Class 6A. They will kick off the season against 7A power Hewitt-Trussville on August 21st.