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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Raiders prepared to tackle heat

Defensive end Roger Stack was timed running the 40-yard dash Friday morning at C

Greg Medeck is well aware of it, but right now he’s not too concerned.

The “it” is the oppressive heat and humidity that has blanketed the Brainerd lakes area for more than a month now. As college and high school football practices begin around the country, player hydration has been more of a topic than 40-yard speeds.

But Medeck, who enters his fifth season as head coach of the Central Lakes College Raiders, said right now his practices aren’t about whipping his players bodies into shape. It’s the minds he’s more concerned about.

“It’s always something we’ll be very aware of,” said Medeck. “The heat and the humidity have become a big reality for us, but for us a lot of what we’re doing is about teaching right now. We’re working with the guys on the mental aspects of our offense and defense and the terminology involved with it. We had 65 guys report to camp. That’s a real nice number, but of those 65 they represent 50 different high schools or 50 different programs that had their own terminology. So we’re working on getting these guys accustomed to our terminology and what we’re trying to get accomplished here.

“We’ll take the physical stuff and ease into that later. Right now we need to learn.”

The Raiders will not practice in pads until the middle of next week. Medeck said he works closely with his training staff and has built in water breaks throughout his practice plan.

“The guys can get water anytime they want,” said Medeck, but we also have water breaks where we force the guys to take some. We’re taking care of those things, but none of our practices are incredibly strenuous. We want to have the guys in shape so we can compete right away in the league, but right now it’s a lot of walk-throughs and standing around working on positioning and spatial relationships. We’re not pushing the kids too hard so it’s really something I’m not too worried about.”

This formula has seemed to work for Medeck and his coaching staff. Last year, CLC enjoyed its first unbeaten regular season since 1984 and was the state runner up after falling to Rochester 34-31 in the championship game. The year before the Raiders won their first state championship with a 20-14 overtime win over Rochester. In his first four seasons, Medeck owns a 34-11 record.

The Raiders have built a 13-game regular-season winning streak dating back to  Oct. 3, 2009. They will look to keep the streak alive when they open against Fond Du Lac Aug. 27 in St. Cloud.

“Today went really well,” said Medeck. “I’m excited. It’s hard to say what type of team we have. I’m hoping we have a bunch of guys that work hard and that love football. I think we have a wide variety of players. We have some with good size and others with good quickness. We have a lot of talented players at the skill positions. Most of all we have some eager guys ready to play football.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at or 855-5856.