Although teams have been involved in workouts for the duration of the summer, Saturday marked the earliest date for official preseason conditioning in Georgia.
Teams will begin these practice sessions today and be required to go through five days of conditioning before being able to put on pads. Next Saturday is the first day teams will be allowed to begin padded workouts. Likewise, Alabama will begin its practices next Monday.
In Georgia, preseason practice rules are as follows for the 2015-16 season:
Full contact is allowed on no more than two consecutive practice days per week. Full contact is also limited to no more than 45 minutes per day and no more than 135 minutes per week. During any twice-daily practice ("two-a-day"), only one session per day can include full contacts.
During regular and postseason practices, rules shift slightly.
Full contact is allowed in no more than three practice days per week. Like in the preseason, it is not allowed on more than two consecutive days. Full contact is limited to no more than 30 minutes per day and no more than 90 minutes per week.
Practice plans are prepared in advance and maintained by the school for at least 12 months. Violations of these rules can result in a fine of $500-2,500 for the first offense, at the discretion of the executive director. A second offense results in the school being placed on probation and being made ineligible for postseason play.
In Alabama, rules differ slightly.
Only shorts and helmets are allowed the first two days of fall football practice. Shoulder pads and helmets are allowed on the third practice day for a period not to exceed 90 minutes of total practice time.
That number increases to 120 minutes on the fourth day. On the fifth practice day, one full-speed contact practice in full gear is allowed, but shall not exceed 90 minutes.
In Week 2 of practice, alternating days of full-speed contact practice is allowed but cannot exceed a combined total of 120 minutes. In addition, one intra-squad scrimmage is allowed.
In Week 3, alternating days of full-speed contact practice is allowed and cannot exceed a combined total of 120 minutes. One interscholastic scrimmage or contest is then allowed.
For Week 4 of practice through the end of the season, a total of 90 minutes of full-speed contact per week is allowed.
Regular season contests begin this season on Thursday, Aug. 20 (Columbus vs. Jordan). The majority of other area teams get started the following day, Aug. 21.