Most of the Lufkin Panthers were no strangers to the high school campus this summer as they kept up to speed with work in the weight room along with some intense workouts in the summer heat.

On Wednesday morning, those same Panthers got back in the swing of things in the classroom as school started for Lufkin ISD.

Before hitting the field for football practice in the afternoon, those same players were busy working on the student aspect of being a student-athlete.

“It’s always good to get them back in school,” Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. “That’s always the most important aspect. But from our perspective, we like getting back into a routine because that’s what we’ll go with hopefully until December.”

The team stuck with its primary practice schedule earlier this week in going with regular afternoon workouts instead of moving them to the morning or night.

Quick said in addition to getting into a routine, the return to school allows them to keep a better eye on players for safety purposes.

“We’ve got water everywhere at practice, and that’s obviously necessary with this weather,” Quick said. “But it’s important for them to get a good meal and be hydrated before they get out to practice or it’s an uphill battle. We can keep a little bit better eye on that when they’re here in school all day.”

The Panthers were able to work in “half-shell” on Wednesday afternoon after working in helmets over the first two days of practice. They’ll have another day of workouts in shoulder pads and helmets today before putting on full equipment on Friday.

Full-contact drills start on a team’s sixth day of workouts, according to UIL rules.

Lufkin is currently 15 days away from its season opener against the Longview Lobos. The Panthers will scrimmage in Huntsville on Aug. 23.

“It comes at you pretty quickly,” Quick said. “In this first week, there’s a lot of align and assign on the defensive side just because it’s harder for them to work with no contact than it is the defense. We’re doing more talking this week than we will later, but it’s still important to keep a good tempo throughout.”

Josh Havard’s email address is