Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Competition healthy for local football teams

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 6/27/2014

The coaches love to see the competitive juices flow. Even it is summer and a couple of months away from the start of the prep football season.

Ottawa, Wellsville and Osawatomie met Wednesday for a 7-on-7 scrimmage at the Ottawa practice field.

The coaches love to see the competitive juices flow. Even it is summer and a couple of months away from the start of the prep football season.

Ottawa, Wellsville and Osawatomie met Wednesday for a 7-on-7 scrimmage at the Ottawa practice field.

“Competition ... we do this everyday against ourselves after weights,” second-year Ottawa coach Rob Hedrick said. “Getting reps against an opponent, it is great.  

“We get more out of this than we do going against ourselves. It has been nothing but good. When you go up against a stranger, there is more pride on the line. The kids love it.”

The scrimmage is all passing plays and no tackling or physical play.

“Fast tempo ... it is good to see guys compete in the summer time,” second-year Wellsville coach Brad Burkdoll said. “We have learned a lot today. We have a younger group.

“We practice everyday against ourselves. To get out here and see different guys and athletes, has been good. Our boys like to compete.”

The scrimmage gives the coaches a chance to see the players react to different situations.

“There is new kids that come out every year,” Hedrick said. “It is seeing kids in a more competitive light.”

Burkdoll and the Wellsville coaches get a look at how the players have grown in the past year.

“We have guys filling new roles this year,” he said. “We have seen new leaders this summer. We keep a lot of the things the same. We try to get better at what we do. It gives you a jump start on camp and fall camp.”

For Ottawa, football has become relevant. Ottawa went 5-5 last year and broke a decade-long playoff drought.

“There was not too long ago when we were in 7-on-7 leagues and we could not play because we did not have enough kids show up,” Hedrick said. “Now we have 50 or 60 kids here. They want to learn ... they want to play. There is a lot of coachable moments.”

Burkdoll said the scrimmages and summer workouts gives the Eagles a chance to grow at a quicker pace, something Wellsville will need.

“We have a big league game in week one,” Burkdoll said. “The first six games are our league schedule. We need to peak week one. It is going to be tough from the start. It will come fast.”

Burkdoll said the learning curve is not as great this summer.

“We were learning all last year,” he said. “They have thought about it all off-season. It is to the point they are offering suggestions and seeing things in our offense. I have always been the type of coach ‘tell me what you are seeing and we can make adjustments.’

“We should be coming in a lot further ahead this fall.”

Both coaches like that their quarterbacks are under fire in the scrimmages.

“The quarterbacks get to work on their reads,” Hedrick said. “We are running all our stuff we have in so far. We are kind of limited, but that is good. Simple is good.”

Burkdoll said, “We will have a new quarterback this year. We got two of them to look at different defenses. It is a lot to think about.

“It is a different speed than you see in practice everyday.”

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