Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Carlisle coaches keeping it fresh

Leader sportswriter

Things are rolling along according to schedule for Carlisle as first-year head coach Brandon Barbaree prepares his Bison for next week’s scrimmage game at Dumas.

The Bison had a successful week of practice last week in full-contact mode, and will continue that way until Thursday, when Barbaree will switch them to more of a game-week type of scenario to prepare for the Bobcats.

“Last week, we had five pretty good practices, starting with just the weather being cool,” Barbaree said. “It always makes it a lot easier when that weather doesn’t zap you. Our energy level was high, and I thought our kids really flew around. Even with the rules of practice time changing up, in full pads, I thought we have five pretty physical practices that we can definitely build off of.”

The Bison face the same dilemma as practically every other 2A football team interms of limited depth. With many of his top players going both ways, and just enough spare linemen, Barbaree said the depth issue is not a concern.

“The ones are the ones,” Barbaree said. “Our starters are a step ahead of our second guys. We’re lucky to have a couple of guys on the offensive line that can fill in to where there’s not a big drop off. As far as backs, we’re pretty solid in the backfield, and at linebacker, same guys. Our guys just flip around and play both ways. I think depth wise we’re pretty good with the skill positions.”

Barbaree estimated that about 90 percent of the offense is installed at this point, in particular the package to be used in the season opener at home against McCrory on Sept. 6. As far as players stepping up on the practice field, he noted the efforts of Colton Isbell, who has taken on a leadership role on the defensive line, and has also shown good technique. Dan Sage has also established himself on the offensive line.

“Our seniors have led the way,” Barbaree said. “I can’t ever take anything away from those guys, because they’re here every day and they work hard. Our numbers have held strong, and we just keep pushing forward.”

The third week of practice is usually when monotony becomes an issue for a lot of teams, but Barbaree said the coaching staff has taken strides to keep things fresh on the practice field.

“I think as coaches, we’re so caught up in this, the way we’ve always done,” Barbaree said. “We’ve tried to change practice up to where our kids aren’t getting that stale feeling. You’re always facing that thing where kids are ready to play. Coaches love practice, and if you can find kids who love to practice, it’s a plus, but kids want to play in those games.”

Barbaree said the plan from Monday forward was physical practices on Tuesday and Wednesday before getting into game preparation on Thursday. The Bison will scrimmage on Aug. 27 at Dumas.