Parkers Chapel finished its first week of practicing as an eight-man squad on Thursday morning with the Trojans continuing to install their schemes while also getting a refresher on what has already been implemented.
“Today was a light install, so a little review of what we put in,” Parkers Chapel coach Elliot Jacobs said. “It was the second day of pads, so we wanted to see a more tempo practice, getting stuff done. I thought the guys competed hard and we got better today.”
So far, the Trojans are adjusting well to the eight-man format.
“There’s really not much difference,” Jacobs said. “The kids have bought into our system. That really helps. You know the benefit of going eight-man is any kid that wanted to quit has already quit, so the guys we have care about the game of football. They’re bringing notebook pads to all of the meetings, they’re studying, they’re asking questions. The kids have bought in.
“There’s still going to be that learning curve, but when you’ve got 18, 19 kids that are bought in, it makes things run a lot smoother. We’re more in technique now versus worrying about effort. We’re not having to teach effort anymore. As a coach, if you can get a team that you don’t have to worry about effort and attitude, you’re going to be successful. We think that’s a spot we can be in down the road.”
When the Trojans made the move to eight-man, Jacobs said the coaching staff had to quickly get to work on what schemes would work, and they have been able to make adjustments and tweaks along the way.
“We had that, ‘Oh no, what are we going to do with scheme,’ and what helps us is offensively, we’re multiple formations, so we’re showing coach (Josh) Willeford a bunch of different formations and he’s able to see, ‘OK, this works against my defense, this doesn’t work against our defense,’” Jacobs said. “That’s been very beneficial for us as coaches. Now I don’t think the kids have caught on to that yet, but as coaches, we’ve seen some things that if another team does this, we need to be prepared to do X, Y, Z.
“We’re in that training mode just like the kids are, but it helps when the kids are hustling and giving great effort and attitude. That’s helping us see the big picture a lot easier. It’s hard when you’ve got kids jogging around.
“You don’t really know if your stuff works or not, but our kids are competing at full speed, so it’s allowing us to make real-time transitions on schemes that we want to change. It’s been really beneficial.”
And while the senior high is playing eight-man, the junior high is playing an 11-man schedule, so while the practices are different, the coaching staff is trying to keep the same schemes in place as best as possible.
“What we’ve tried to do is marry our offenses as similar as we can. Now defense, it’s almost impossible to do, but offensively, we’re kind of doing the same thing, just adding three more bodies to the junior high,” Jacobs said.
“What we’re trying to do practice-wise is we’ll do all of our individual stuff first because you’ve got to be able to run, block and tackle. Then we’ll break up and go to half ends of the field and I’ll bounce back and forth between the two and watch and make corrections where we think they need to be made.”
With the first week of practices in the books, Jacobs said he is pleased with where the Trojans are.
“We are very pleased,” Jacobs said, adding that the final number of players on the varsity will be at 19. “We know now that we’ve got kids out here that want to play football. They’ve had every opportunity to quit. We’ve had others do it. In 11-man teams in the past at Parkers Chapel, we’ve had about 10 to 12 that are out there because their buddies are out there, not because they love the game of football.
“That can make your practices and your games hard. Right now, the kids we’ve got out there, obviously they love the game or they wouldn’t be here. They don’t have that excuse anymore. That helps us out and it’s going to make us grow in the future.”