Friday, June 19, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe ahead of expectation

Leader sports editor

The Beebe Badgers faced some good competition at the Conway High School football team camp Monday and Wednesday this week. The Badgers were a bit shorthanded, with a few players out for various reasons, but saw some bright spots from a very inexperienced offensive line, which is a big focus during the offseason.

“Offensively I was pleased,” said Beebe coach John Shannon. “Of course Jo’Vaughn (Wyrick) and Trip (Smith) looked good. We know what we’re getting with those two, but the offensive line did a really good job of blocking. That’s a big question mark for us coming in because we’re replacing two tight ends, two tackles and two guards. They made some mistakes. There’s still a lot of room to improve and keep growing, but I think we’re a little bit ahead of where I thought we’d be at this point with a whole new offensive line.”

The team camps are divided into offense and defense, which are usually playing at the same time, so Shannon didn’t get to see much of the defense. He thought the offense was better on Monday than Wednesday, but believes some of that had to do with the players that were missing.

Starting quarterback Justin Burlison wasn’t at either camp. He’s on a mission trip with his church. Backup Tyler Woodall handled duties on Monday, but even he was gone on Wednesday. That left third-string quarterback and starting linebacker Bo Smith to run the offense.

“We looked a little sluggish Wednesday but we were down to our third-string quarterback,” Shannon said. “Bo did a good job, but we just weren’t as efficient as we looked with Burlison and Woodall. I thought Woodall did a really good job on Monday.”

The Badgers also took part in a 7-on-7 meet at Cabot High School on Wednesday evening, the second one of the summer. There they faced Cabot and several smaller schools like England, Hazen and Rose Bud, as well as Beebe’s 5A-Central Conference mates J.A. Fair and McClellan.

“We might throw a little more if we need to with Burlison,” Shannon said. “He can throw it pretty well. But with backs like Trip and Jo’Vaughn, we hope we won’t have to throw it a whole lot. We do 7-on-7 mostly for defense, but we see a lot of things in 7-on-7 we don’t see during the season. I still thought the kids did a good job of recognizing sets and getting in the right spots. We saw some empty sets and quad sets, and we haven’t seen that in two or three years in a game.” There will be five more 7-on-7 meets at Panther Stadium in July, but Beebe won’t be there. Instead, the Badgers will go once a week each Wednesday back to team camps in Conway.