Friday, July 10, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Coach likes the effort at Conway team camp

Leader sports editor

The Beebe football team had another good offensive performance at the Conway High School team camp on Wednesday. Conway’s camp features a slightly different format than most camps, designed to make defenses work fast while giving offenses time to get plays ready.

Six teams were on hand, including Conway, Beebe, Morrilton, Little Rock Christian Academy, Clinton and Dardanelle. The teams divide into starting offense and starting defense and go to opposite ends of the field. On each end, one defense will play five plays against every other offense in rapid succession.

Offenses have their plays ready by the time its their turn, meaning a defense may have to face Morrilton’s wide-open spread formation, then Beebe’s dead-T, making that adjustment in a matter of seconds.

“It’s a little different but I like the way we do it here,” said Beebe coach John Shannon. “You don’t really get to have drives or anything, but your offense and defense gets a lot of work against a lot of different looks.”

The format also allows offense and defense to get equal work. Right now, Beebe has a few players that Shannon says will have to play both ways. The camp is divided into two sessions as well, meaning Shannon used all his starters on offense in the first session, and all defensive starters in the second session. That meant several backups got plenty of work on each side when projected starters were elsewhere.

“Right now we’ve got a few that, if we had to start today, would have to go both ways,” Shannon said. “This camp set up like it is, it gives us a chance to play some of these kids we hope can step in and add some depth. They get some experience and hopefully keep improving so we can have fewer people on both sides.”

Conway, being a top 7A team and at least two classifications larger than everyone else there, enjoyed the most success on both sides of the ball. Few plays against the Wampus Cat defense yielded much of anything, but Beebe’s offense caused the host team some trouble.

Even when much of Beebe’s offense featured backups, the Badgers broke one big play against the Wampus Cats. It was a simple run right by Jo’Vaughn Wyrick, who was lined up at fullback while Trip Smith played defense at the other end of the field.

“Since we split up, I don’t get to see much of the defense, but I was very pleased again with how our offense executed,” Shannon said. “The first session especially, when we had all our starters on offense, looked really good. We’re replacing almost our whole offensive line. Right now it looks like they’re coming along pretty well. There’s a long way to go, though. We still need to get a lot better.”

Beebe received somewhat of a surprise when one publication that recently came out had the Badgers ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 5A.

“I guess that’s based on having those two 1,000-yard backs returning,” Shannon said. “We’ll find out just how good those two guys are if this line doesn’t keep improving. But overall I’m pretty pleased with where they’re at right now. I’d say they’re probably a little farther along than I thought they’d be at this point.”

Wednesday’s effort at camp was the third-straight day of what Shannon called “A really good week so far.” According to the head Badger, the team arrived on Monday ready to work after two weeks off for the mandatory dead period, in which athletes cannot step onto campus athletic facilities or have any contact with coaches.

“Actually, I’d say it’s probably the best first week after the dead period that we’ve had, as far as work ethic goes,” Shannon said. “All three days they came with a lot of energy. I hope that continues.”

Beebe goes back to the Conway camp the next three Wednesdays in July before fall camp begins in August.