The Bryant Hornets defense returned to the form it had shown last week, much to the frustration of the Bryant offense, in a scrimmage held on Wednesday as spring football workouts in pads continued.
The Hornet D had looked a little sluggish in Monday's scrimmage but proved tough to block again on Wednesday.
"I thought we played with a little more intensity today," acknowledged Hornets defensive coordinator Steve Griffith. "I think part of that just had to do with really we were only going six or seven plays at a time so I think the kids cut loose and got after it pretty good.
"I thought our pass rush was a little bit better and we were moving to the football as a group a whole lot better," he continued. "And when we did get guys held up, we had other guys rallying to the football as a group which we really hadn't done very well on Monday."
The majority of the scrimmage involved the younger players but, after a light day on Thursday, most of the work in Friday's scrimmage will go to the first- and second-team guys.
"Offensively, we trying a lot of different combinations and we're doing a lot of different things which makes us inconsistent," observed Hornets head coach Paul Calley. "It's not really the kids' fault. It's my fault for trying to do too much. We're trying to see what we can do, what we can't do and eliminate what we can't do before we start in the fall.
"You'd like to see them have more success and be more consistent," he continued, "but, in another sense, they realize they've got a lot of work to do and a long way to go, so they don't get complacent."
Regarding the passing game, Calley mentioned, "We had some open receivers, we just didn't put the ball on the money. We'd get it close but we still hadn't got that timing down that we need to have. And we will have by the time the season rolls around.
"There are times, we can run the ball and there are things we can do against our defense then there's just some things we can't do but we will be able to do against other people," added the coach. "It's kind of frustrating to the kids because they know what some of our best plays are during the season and we try to run them out here, they don't really work just because of the scheme that we play (on defense). Coach Griff does a good job of trying to keep the numbers in his favor and we haven't been able to take advantage of it.
"We've had a hard time running screens, we haven't done a good job blocking at receiver. We don't have a lot of big physical guys out there (at receiver) so it's going to be a challenge for us to be able to run screens, sprintouts. Our three-step game is there. That's what has looked the best. Our five-step right now, we're just not able to protect it and we don't really have the speed to get behind a lot of people."
Calley acknowledged that it's been a pretty typical spring.
"The defense should be ahead, the offense is trying to catch up. They've started stunting just a little bit more which makes it tough on us because we do such a good job on defense using our stunts and our guys knowing where to be and how to get there, taking the right angles and cutting things off. A lot of people stunt against us and they don't take good angles and they run themselves out of plays. It opens up holes and our backs have good enough vision to take advantage of it. But our guys on defense did a good job of shutting us down today.
"Overall, I'm pleased with the effort," he concluded. "When you go out and watch us practice, I guarantee there's not many teams that can go out and do what we did today with four different groups running our entire offense. We've got some (former players) volunteering and out there helping us. Our young guys get more reps and some good experience because of those guys."
Of the concluding scrimmage on Friday afternoon, Calley said, it should start around 2:30 or 2:45. "I'd like to run a lot more plays than we did today," he added. "I'd like to run at least 15 plays with each group. That's a 60-play scrimmage and, of course, you want to get out of that healthy. We've got a few bumps and bruises, a sprained ankle and some scrapes but nothing too serious and that's how we want to keep it."
Among the visitors at the Bryant Hornet practice on Wednesday was legendary high school football coach Don Campbell, most recently of Wynne.