It finally felt like summer to Wally Burnham.
Temperatures in the 90s. Sweat pouring down his forehead. Now this, is football weather.
The Alabama native and longtime defensive coach of such warm-weather schools as Florida State, South Carolina and South Florida was perfectly comfortable Saturday afternoon on the most sweltering day this state has seen in a long time.
“Feels great,” said Burnham, Iowa State’s defensive coordinator. “It’s a typical day down there all through August practices and September. I think it was great for our kids to go through it. Hopefully we’ll have two or three weeks of it.”
His, and head coach Paul Rhoads’ plan, is to get Cyclone players used to the heat they’ll likely be playing in over the first month of the season.
Saturday was the team’s first in shoulder pads. Full gear will come later this week.
“We just try to push them a little bit harder, see how far they’ll go,” Burnham said. “When the mind gets tired, their body will follow. We were trying to make them line up as fast as they could and run the next play, run the next play, not do a lot of coaching in between.”
Like a real game.
“We are going to have to play in the heat at some point, and we need to be ready for it,” said nose tackle Nate Frere.
At 67 years old, Burnham has seen and heard it all. He’s got a great sense of humor, just not when the whistle is around his neck.
“On the field he’s business. He can be tough,” Frere said. “Off the field or in between drills is when his character comes out.”