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#preptalkpreseason kicks off with start of practice: Visits with OP, Sweet Home & Canisius (with video)

Sweet Home goes through a drill to start its afternoon session. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
By Keith McShea

Welcome to the first day of the 2013-14 high school sports season. Today is the first day that fall season teams can practice throughout the state. For football teams, which have held workouts and passing leagues throughout the summer, the preparation begins today for Week One (Sept. 6-7).

At Canisius, a most notable transfer will not be on the field today. TJ Wheatley, the junior standout who I wrote about in Sunday's paper, is out with what the coaching staff is calling -- get ready hockey fans -- an "upper body injury." The team says it has not been authorized by Wheatley's family to disclose the specific injury. 

Wheatley is listed as day-to-day. The team is hopeful it will have him in the opening-night lineup at Rochester's McQuaid on Friday, Sept. 6.

Wheatley participated in passing leagues with Canisius this summer. Once the injury was diagnosed it was determined that it occurred back at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp in Michigan in June, which was prior to the Wheatleys' decision to attend Canisius.

UPDATE: Wheatley has been CLEARED. 

Canisius coaches were pleasantly surprised to learn this morning that Wheatley has been cleared for practice. His injury was not nearly as bad as first thought.

He'll participate in conditioning work only today and tomorrow he'll be going full-speed.

* * *

My first two stops were ones I have made before on the first day of practice. First Orchard Park, then up to Sweet Home. Both programs are (again) coming off Section VI championships, and both advanced to the state championship game last year. 

I down to Orchard Park for my first stop and had a good talk with coach Gene Tundo. Last year's team had a ton of seniors, so the Quakers have some reloading to do, but that is something that we seemingly say every year about OP. 

Tundo said three players are vying for the quarterback spot: senior Dave Hollins, junior Kevin Goltz and freshman Dylan Janka. 

At Sweet Home, the Panthers are also looking to reload and they expect to have a lot of speed (we've heard that quite a few times as well).

Coach John Faller didn't have much to say about the departure of Brad Zaffram (who transferred to Canisius), which is about what I expected. Many a coach will tell you that there's no need to look back. 

I'm off to Canisius for its afternoon session. Harry Scull will have a Day One video from Canisius posted later. 

This morning he posted a great [BN]TheLockerRoom video of Canisius coach Rich Robbins' initial meeting with his team

I'll have more details and video posted later.

* * * 

Here are video interviews from my stops today: 

* * * 

We will have #preptalkpresason reports throughout the day. Aaron Mansfield traveled to Alden and Depew while Mary Jo Monnin headed to East Aurora, which this year is a combined program with Holland. There will be a ton of coverage in Tuesday's paper. 


Canisius | Football | High school football | Orchard Park | Sweet Home | Video
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |