By Rob Patrick
It seems like it’s been a long time coming. But football season at Bryant gets started with a pre-season scrimmage on[more] Monday night. At 5:30 p.m., at Bryant Stadium, the freshman teams from Bryant and Pine Bluff will square off, followed around 6:30 by a workout for the high school teams.
Former Hornet Kenny Horn will be starting his fourth season as the head coach of the freshman team. So far, he’s led Junior Hornets squads to a combined 24-6 record. The challenge, of course, for Horn and his assistants is to bring together the players from the eighth grade teams that competed against each other at Bryant Middle School and Bethel Middle School last season.
So, are they ready?
“I think so, I hope so,” Horn said. “You never know until you play your first one.”
The scrimmage will begin with the second and third groups from each team going at it for a set number of plays. Then the starters will play a 16-minute scrimmage with no kicking game.
“We’re going to punt but there’s going to be no returns,” noted the coach. “We’ll stop the clock on incomplete passes and to move the sticks and that kind of stuff.”
The team took off practice early on Friday to refresh a bit from the hard preseason work in the heat.
Asked what he wanted to see from his team on Monday, Horn said, “All I want to see is effort. That’s all I care about is effort. Offensively, I want to see people trying to maintain blocks. I want to see us catching the football and I want to see us run the ball hard. And I want to see us hanging onto the football. That’s really all I’m worried about. You do those things all the time and you’ll be pretty good.
“Defensively, all I want to see us do is rally to the football,” he continued. “I’m not too worried about technique right now. I just want to see them run to the ball.”
Giving a brief overview of the team, Horn said, “We look okay. To be honest, I think team speed will probably be a plus this year. We’re not lacking in that category. We’ve got a handful or two of guys that can run 4.9 or better and five or six guys that are 4.6. So we’re going to be pretty fast in the skill spots. One thing you can’t coach is speed and we’re faster than we’ve ever been.”
The Hornets freshman team opens the regular season on Thursday, Sept. 1, at home against Lake Hamilton.