Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Bison’s big strides

Leader sportswriter

After a solid first week of fall practice under first-year head coach Jack Keith, the Carlisle Bison picked up where they left off on Monday, and put a lot of emphasis on conditioning and understanding the offense.

“We had a really good week last week,” said Keith. “They worked hard, and we never had a practice that seemed like it drug on. We got things done, and just had a really good, solid week.

“It was a good place to start off. We’ve got a long ways to go, but we got off on the right foot.”

Offensively, the Bison’s primary offense is still the Double Wing, which was the primary offense under Carlisle’s two previous head coaches, and with all of the offensive work that’s been put in since fall practice began, Keith says his team is getting close to where it needs to be on that side of the ball.

“We’re close to where we want to be on offense,” Keith said. “Last week, we had a lot of time where we had to be in just helmets and shoulder pads – a lot less contact. So we were able to get more of our schemes down offensively.”

The Arkansas Activities Association recently approved a new rule that limits full-contact practices for teams in the state. Therefore, teams within the state have had to make adjustments to how they approach practice sessions, but teams are allowed more contact for the second week of fall practices.

“We’re going to have to get defense caught up a little bit now that we can do a little more hitting and be a little more physical,” Keith said. “We’ve got to get that caught up.”

Other than working on defense, Keith would like to see his team get a full understanding of the offense by the end of practice sessions this week.

“We want to have our offense down 100 percent,” Keith said, “you know, to where we don’t have any mental mistakes on our schemes. And defensively, we want to get to where we’re more physical and flying around more – get our scheme down 100 percent there – make sure we’re lined up in the right spots and make sure we know where we need to be.

“We’re on top of things. Like I said, offensively, we’re really close to where we need to be. Defensively, we’ve got a little ways to go, but technique and physicality is what we’ve got to get fixed up with them.”

As far as the conditioning aspect, Keith said he wants his team to be in better shape than any other team it plays this season, and he believes that can make a big difference in how his team performs against some of the tougher team’s on the Bison’s schedule this fall.

“We’re getting as many practices in as the triple A (Arkansas Activities Association) will let us get in,” Keith said. “We’re still working out, lifting weights, running. We’ve got to be in good shape and outwork everybody we play.

“We want to be in better shape than anyone that lines up against us. We’re going to have to grind some out and we’re going to have to win the fourth quarter. We’ve got to be in better shape than anyone we play, so when it comes down to the fourth quarter, the end of the game, we’ll still be able to do things right and get the job done.”