Scrimmage offered a familiar sight for SC coaching staff
SCHS senior runningback Wyatt Kropp stiffarms a defender on his way to a 42 yard run during Saturday’s scrimmage
By Rod Haxton, editor
Saturday’s first football scrimmage of the season featured a number of new players and, in several instances, familiar players in different roles.
But, in some ways, it wasn’t all that different from scrimmages that head coach Glenn O’Neil has seen in more than two decades as a coach with the Scott Community High School football team.
The linemen were playing with their pad levels too high.
Receivers weren’t running routes with precision.
Players away from the action were watching rather than pursuing a play, were not sealing off the back side or making an extra block downfield.
“It’s nothing new. These are things we see every year in our first scrimmage,” notes O’Neil.
One of the biggest benefits of the scrimmage is the opportunity to show players on film what the coaches have been emphasizing in practice.
A common issue with the linemen on both sides of the ball is firing off too high.
“That’s something we have to tell linemen about every year and we saw it again on Saturday. Now it comes down to how quickly they will make the adjustment,” says the head coach.
Second Day in Pads
Friday’s practice was the first time the
Beavers were in full pads and “that definitely raised the intensity level,” says senior fullback and linebacker Cooper Griffith.
“It’s football. We want to come out here and hit. When we finally get to do that it puts a little juice in us,” he says.
But there’s also a transition in going from non-contact drills to full contact.
“Earlier in the week, before we put on pads, things were looking a lot smoother and everyone seems to be understanding their responsibilities,” Griffith notes. “Once you put on the pads you have to take a step back.”
With a full week of practice in pads and a couple of sessions in full contact, O’Neil expects to see some significant improvement by Friday’s scrimmage during the annual Back-to-School Bash.
This week’s scrimmage will hopefully provide a better glimpse of everyone who is battling for varsity spots on the line.
Senior lineman Reid Flower (5-10, 240) hasn’t played since a season-ending injury early in his freshman season. Because of an illness, he missed two practices leading up to last Saturday’s scrimmage.
Likewise, junior lineman Jaime De La Rocha (5-8, 220) didn’t play in the scrimmage because of a rib injury, but he was back on the practice field again Monday.
Both are likely starters who should make an impact in this week’s scrimmage.
While a lot of attention is focused on the offensive and defensive lines, O’Neil says players at the skilled positions also have a lot to improve after Saturday’s performance.
“We had some nice catches, but there were also three dropped passes that were in our hands,” says O’Neil.
Add in three interceptions spread among the three quarterbacks, along with a couple of fumbles “and that’s not a recipe for winning football,” emphasizes the head coach.
O’Neil described junior quarterback Bo Hess as “hot and cold, which is what you’d expect from a quarterback with only JV experience.
“He needs to make better reads before the snap has taken place. That’s a learning process. It’s not like college or the pros where you have a two hour film session with the quarterback and can go over the different things he’s going to see.”
O’Neil added that the receivers could help their quarterback by running better routes.
“At times, they put Bo in a bad spot,” he points out.
Defense Will Make Gains
The defense wasn’t as dominating as Beaver fans are accustomed to seeing, but O’Neil said that’s no surprise since the emphasis during the first week is on the offense.
“The emphasis this week is defending the power running game and with the defensive special teams,” he says.
And each practice is an opportunity for the players to gain a better feel for the personnel around them.
“I have a new linebacker playing beside me. That takes learning by both of us,” says Griffith. “You have to adjust to their style and they have to adjust to you. Most of us seniors are used to last year’s team and we have to realize this will be a completely different team.”
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