Wednesday, August 30, 2006

SPORTS >>Badger get good, close games with Greenbrier

Leader sportswriter

field goal or something like that, so they have been a good opponent for us to start our season out with.” Prock says Friday’s game will also be his team’s first true look at a strong running game, after playing spread-driven Harding Academy in last week’s scrimmage. “We know they are going to be running at us,” Prock said. “We try to give our guys a good look at the run in our practices, but it’s hard to simulate. We go against ourselves in practices, and Harding Academy uses a spread like we do, so this will be the first real test against a running team for our defense.”

Prock says that Friday night’s game is not only a chance for his defense to take on the challenge of an unfamiliar offensive scheme, it is also good preparation for the grueling 5A-East schedule that will feature its share of ground-based sets. The two most feared opponents in the East, Wynne and Batesville, are both traditionally strong running teams. He hopes that facing the Panthers will give the defense a good idea of what’s to be expected later in the season.

“The bulk of teams in our conference are running teams,” Prock said. “I think this game will give them a good look of what’s down the road for them.” As expected, most of Beebe’s defensive struggles last season came at the hands of run-based teams. A stronger resistance to the run could pay huge dividends this year, with most of the same adversaries on this year’s schedule.

The Badgers did lose one running opponent from the schedule in Marion, but the Patriots were replaced in the conference by North Pulaski, who is also expected to return to the ground assault this season after last year’s disastrous attempt at opening up the spread. Prock believes the team is ready, but is cautious.

“It’s that time of year,” Prock said. “There are a little nerves going around. You never know until you get out there on the field. You can look flawless, or you can look like you haven’t had any practice at all. It definitely keeps you on edge.”