In less than two months, high school football teams around Missouri will be in pads, playing 11 on 11.
To help prepare for that season, several teams were on the field Monday at Tiger Stadium playing seven-on-seven.
For Smith-Cotton, it was the third Monday of seven-on-seven football this month. The Tigers have drilled against each other the past two weeks but had a chance to take the field against other teams this week.
“It helps for us to see if the kids are understanding what we’re talking about,” said Smith-Cotton coach Ryan Boyer. “We get to see a couple different styles of offense. One team’s a little play-action heavy, the other team’s spread it out a little more. You get to see a lot in a short amount of time.”
Offenses consist of backs and receivers. Defenses feature linebackers and the secondary. That results in offenses getting a chance to work on the passing game.
“What we’re looking at here is we want to get timing down with our backs and receivers,” said Lincoln coach Danny Morrison. “It’s good to start on it early so we can kind of get the rhythm down.”
“It’s nice to be able to look at some different things that we’ve seen at a clinic and draw it up and then see if it’s actually going to work out here,” Boyer said.
Boyer sees seven-on-sevens as a good chance for players to understand some of the concepts behind the plays. A receiver might be asked to run a route designed not to get him the ball, but to get another receiver open. With seven-on-sevens, there is coaching happening along with each play to show the players exactly what each play is designed to do.
“What’s nice about here is we can stop the play, line them back up and then show it,” Boyer said. “Hopefully by doing that, they can understand what’s going on.”
Boyer said the first seven-on-seven of the summer was a slower pace with more time spent on demonstrating things. By week three, there was more of a steady stream of plays.
Seven-on-sevens help the defense as well. Morrison wanted his defensive backs focused on the concept of keeping every play in front of them. He said it also helped his linebackers see more of the passing game.
“Usually their tendency is to read run and this gets them on their heels a little bit,” Morrison said.