Preseason is a time for coaches to teach and evaluate. After a dozen practices, with some of the best weather in a long time, the 2012 Bear football team is beginning to take form. [Because the final decisions on rosters have not been announced, this post will refrain from its normal practice of reciting the names of the boys; that will resume during the regular season.]

Coach Derwinski’s JV squad has grown from exclusively freshmen to a nice mix of sophomores and juniors. Their practices have evidenced high energy and enthusiasm with a fair amount of instruction coming from the coaches. The Class of 2016 appears to have some size and speed. Fortified by a few of the ’15 and ’14 vintage today, the JV Bears looked promising against the Walt Whitman JV squad today. There were a couple of impressive runs in which the ball carriers passed the scrimmage line using strength and speed. The O line showed that they were mastering the intricacies of the blocking schemes. The D unit showed that they understood the roles of each position and played with good support from sideline to sideline.

The character of the Varsity roster was really revealed in the 1st Okie scrimmage in which 5 offensive player are matched against 4 defenders in a 10 yard box (the QB only hands the ball off most of the time). Big hits were greeted with loud whoops from the assembled players. The mix included wide receivers blocking, some of the O players getting their licks in as defensive actors and some new names were being cheered for their physical play. It really did resemble a group of Bears proving their manhood in the wild with the Papa Bear, Coach Padalino, keeping an eye on the boys.

Today’s scrimmage against Walt Whitman, an annual “contest” with the local public school, was the usual challenge. The Vikings may not be as talented as recent teams, but they played with intensity. Landon will use the Wing T again, because the formation creates advantages from sharp execution and goes not require 300+ behemoths to move the defense.

The Saturday test showed that this year’s team may be known as the Running Bears with at least seven different numbers effectively advancing the ball on the ground. The Wing T creates deception and holes through its geometry; with able ball carriers, the opponents are never sure where to commit or who has the ball. This confusion means advantage Bears.

Smart angles and great techniques provide the O linemen with leverage which enhances their “weight”; the ten or eleven Bear linemen, who played today showed that prowess today. Again, the Wing T’s running strength tends to cause the LBs and DBs on the other side to crowd the line. That’s when a Landon QB sets his feet and throws to one of his receivers downfield. It worked today.

The Bears used multiple defensive sets well against the Vikings. Under the new training regime, hitting is limited early in the preseason and that period allows the coaches to drill their charges on positioning, supporting and communicating. The value of that discipline was seen today. There were very few instances of blown assignments against WWHS. However, that reduction in early contact did not result in physical play, the Bear D hit well today.

Kicking will be a Bear strength this year in spite of the inability of the returning punter/place kicker to play for medical reasons. The Bears have many athletic “feet” available to punt the ball and there are two players who can boom kick offs as well as direct the oblong sphere through the uprights at long distances.

Five more practices to refine the team’s performance and then the initial test against a big and talented team of Mustangs from McNamara on Friday August 31 at 4:30pm on Triplett Field/ Bordley Stadium.

Published in: on August 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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