The Southeast Missouri State football team already is done with fall camp, which only can mean one thing.
It's getting really, really close to the start of the Redhawks' season, which begins in less than two weeks -- Sept. 2 at Ball State.
School starts today, so the Redhawks revert to a once-per-day, afternoon practice schedule following classes.
Fall camp, which lasted a little less than three weeks and featured five two-a-day sessions -- per NCAA regulations -- along with plenty of heat and humidity, officially ended with Saturday's second and final scrimmage.
By all accounts the Redhawks' fall camp went well and plenty of progress was made. The players and coaches seem excited and optimistic that this will be the season they finally break through.
Of course, this is the time of the year when optimism abounds across the country as no team has played a game yet. Every squad is undefeated.
That's going to change in a hurry.
Local high school teams get their seasons under way this weekend.
As a tuneup, area squads participated in scrimmage-type jamborees Friday night.
I covered the jamboree in Farmington involving Jackson and Central, although those longtime rivals didn't go up against each other.
What happens in jamborees -- good or bad -- always should be tempered, but I came away pretty impressed with Central and I wouldn't be surprised if the Tigers have a pretty decent season after last year's 0-10 record.
Jackson, coming off a 1-9 season that ranks among the worst in program history, was not as impressive in the jamboree, but it appeared that the Indians went up against better competition than Central.
Central High School graduate Talley Haines, who spent nine years as a pitcher in the minor leagues, recently was added as a full-time assistant baseball coach at Harding University.
Haines will serve as pitching coach and high school recruiting coordinator for the Division II program in Searcy, Ark. He served as a volunteer coach for the Harding pitching staff last year.
And a new addition to the Harding roster for the 2011 season will be former Scott City High School all-stater Ryan Modglin, who redshirted due to an injury at Missouri State last year after seeing limited action for the Bears as a freshman in 2009.
The Festus American Legion baseball team came up one win short of reaching Legion's biggest stage.
Festus won the Zone 4 tournament in Cape Girardeau late last month, followed up with its second straight state title.
Then Festus battled out of the losers bracket to reach the final game of the Central Plains Regional before falling to the Minnesota state champion.
That regional runner-up finish denied Festus a second consecutive trip to the American Legion World Series. Festus became the ninth Missouri team to reach the Legion World Series last year.
The Southeast baseball program will hold its annual open tryout at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Capaha Field.
Those who wish to participate must be full-time students and registered through the NCAA Clearinghouse. Participants should come dressed in baseball attire with spikes and also bring sneakers.
For more information, call 986-6002.
Former Southeast gymnastics coach Tom Farden, who left the program before last season to take an assistant coaching position at Arkansas, now is an assistant at Utah.
Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.