The Bryant Hornets football team concluded spring practice with their seventh and final day in pads on Wednesday.
“The first week was really good,” reported Hornets head coach Paul Calley. “Week two, there was a little drop off and, of course, coming back for the third week this week, knowing it was the end of the school — and I pushed it back as far as I could so we could get most of the kids out of track and baseball here. The last week was not very productive.
“The bad thing about the spring is, you wish you could play somebody else at the end,” he added. “I wish they would change the rules so we could scrimmage somebody else. We’re not going to risk losing someone because of scrimmaging ourselves. We learned that lesson a long time ago. But if they let us play somebody, it would be a more meaningful spring practice, I think. We play each other enough. It was like we went through a mini-football season and we didn’t get any kind of test.
“But we accomplished what we needed to,” the coach stated. “We know who can play. We know who needs another year. We weeded out some of the guys that didn’t really want to be here. We feel like, on both sides of the ball and in the area of special teams, that we’re going to be solid once again.
“Barring injury, we hope to compete for a conference championship,” he continued. State championship? That’s something we’ll talk about later. But I really think we can compete for the conference title. Our schedule’s going to be a little bit tougher, based on who we play at home and on the road. Our road games are going to be tougher this year.”
Calley also had good reports on the team’s academic work.
“It looks like we’re going to come out okay grade-wise,” he related. “We’re not going to lose anybody due to grades, which was a concern. We had preached on it and harped on it.”
The Hornets plan to compete in a trio of 7-on-7 competitions in June and another in July along with a pair of team camps. On Tuesday, June 9, they will be at a 7-on-7 at Maumelle. The following Thursday and Friday, the team will compete at an event hosted by Pulaski Robinson and Little Rock Christian. A final 7-on-7 will be held at Bryant on Monday, June 15 before the mandated two-week dead period.
The Hornets are scheduled to compete at a 7-on-7 at Malvern on Wednesday, July 8 followed by a team camp the next day at Maumelle. Bryant will host a team camp on Thursday, July 16.
“The main thing that I want out of the 7-on-7’s are reps for our defensive backs and our quarterback,” said Calley, referencing two areas that will be filled by relatively inexperienced players. “Gunner (Burks) needs all the live reps he can get and his back-ups need live reps. Our second, being all new, every ball they can see in the air makes them better.
“Team camps, last year we went to one,” he continued. “You risk injury and that’s what scares you because you’re in shoulder pads and headgear but it’s all out. We worry about that but we wanted the offensive linemen to get reps in team camp and, again, our d-backs and quarterbacks to get live reps before we get into football season. The team camps will helps us evaluate a little bit better.”
The Hornets will open the season with the annual Salt Bowl against Benton at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock on Sept. 4. A pre-season scrimmage against Pulaski Academy will be held Aug. 25 at Bryant Stadium.
2015 football schedule
Aug. 25 — Pulaski Academy (pre-season benefit game), 6 p.m.
Sept. 4 — Benton (War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 — at Little Rock McClellan, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — Little Rock Central, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 — at Russellville*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — Little Rock Catholic*+, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 — at Alma*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 — at Greenwood*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 — Van Buren*+ (Homecoming), 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 — Siloam Springs*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 — at Conway*+, 7 p.m.
*7A/6A-Central Conference games
+7A games in the Central Conference