By Rob Patrick
With advancements in digital video and editing software, football practices have taken on a new[more] facet. Coaches can video the practices then “scope” the video down to the pertinent action, show it to the players the next day in order for them to see clearly what they did well and what they need to do better.
Seeing is not only believing, it’s downright enlightening. It has become a tremendous teaching tool for the coaches.
With the window for spring football practice expanded to three weeks to get in a maximum of 10 days in pads, Bryant Hornets head coach Paul Calley has structured his team’s workouts, which start today, so they can work at it physically on one day and work on it mentally — watch and learn — the next.
“We’re going to go Monday, Tuesday, Thursday in pads,” he said, adding that the first day will be an “acclimation day.
“Tuesday, we’ll get a little more into it,” he continued. “We’ll be able to watch film on Wednesday of Tuesday’s practice then, on Friday, of Thursday’s practice. With us having three weeks, it enables us to take a day off between practice days and watch film and learn from it, rather than just having to cram everything into a two-week period. So we’ll probably use eight of the 10 days.”
The original plan is to finish up on Wednesday, May 22, with a prolonged scrimmage.
“If we’re not where we need to be, we will extend it into Thursday and Friday,” Calley stated.
“(Spring practice) helps us analyze and formulate a depth chart going into summer practice,” the coach explained. “In the days before spring football, you really had to wait until you got back (in the fall) to do it but (now) we know where we’re at going into the fall and it tells us what direction we need to go, gives us a blueprint for the things that we need to work on specifically.”
Regarding this year’s team, Calley said, “We had a really good off-season up until the last three weeks. We kind of tailed off a little bit in the weight room. Of course, it gets monotonous. It turns into a grind but we’ve had a few instances where I wasn’t real pleased and, overall, I’ve had to question their character a little bit. Hopefully, heading into Monday, we’re refocused and ready to go to work.”
As is often the case, finding and building up depth will be part of the challenge this spring.
“We feel like our first 11 on both sides are fairly solid,” Calley related. “But, right now, the depth is the question mark. We’ve got a lot of players but we don’t know how many of them can play and that’s what we’ve got to find out. We’ve got to find out who’s going to be physical, who can comprehend our schemes and who can take it to the field.
“You know, it doesn’t matter how big, strong or fast you are if you can’t do what your coaches are asking you to do consistently,” he added. “Sometimes the kids don’t understand that and that’s the point we’ve got to get across to them. They’ve got to be consistent on the practice field. They’ve got to be focused during the spring, because there’s people trying to earn jobs. I’ve told them all, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’ll have to earn your spot.”
It’ll be a challenge for the seven-member coaching staff to evaluate all 130 players that are out this spring.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out,” Calley concluded. “There’s going to be a lot of competition.”
The Hornets will open the season on Sept. 6 at Conway. In advance of the season, there will be a Blue-White scrimmage featuring all of the Bryant teams from seventh grade through varsity. On Aug. 27, the Hornets will host a scrimmage against Pulaski Academy.
2013 football schedule
Aug. 23 — Blue-White, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 27 — &Pulaski Academy (scrimmage), 6 p.m.
Sept. 6 — at Conway, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 — at Little Rock Central, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 — Little Rock Catholic, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 — Benton* (Salt Bowl, War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 — Pine Bluff* (State Rec. Night), 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 — Little Rock J.A. Fair* (Mass Band Night), 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 — at Sheridan*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 — Texarkana* (Homecoming), 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 — at Lake Hamilton*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 8 — El Dorado* (Senior Night), 7 p.m.