Madras football kicks off new season with scrimmage
On Saturday afternoon, the Madras football team held a scrimmage, giving head coach Kurt Taylor a clearer glimpse into this year's team.
"For this being the first scrimmage, I am super pleased," said Taylor.
As the sun dipped in and out in the late summer morning, the varsity players donned blue jerseys while the junior varsity squad wore red. To tell offense and defense apart, the defensive players wore yellow covers on their helmets. Coaches roamed all over the grass, watching intently and calling out reminders and encouragement to players.
It was a picturesque sight to see fall football returning, but perhaps the sweetest sight of all was the bleachers being half-filled with family and friends cheering on their boys. Their familiar hoots and hollers echoed over the field with each big play, truly ushering in the brand new season.
Back on the field, the players gave maximum effort during the scrimmage, which lasted roughly 90 minutes.
"For going in with a new offense, I thought they did great," said Taylor.
On that new offense, Taylor said the key was simplicity.
"It's simplified, but it will still be multiple sets," the coach noted. "We're simplifying the run schemes and the passing to fit our personnel."
During the scrimmage, the team lined in up in different formations, such as the I-formation, twins and trips, and the offense also worked on running option plays where the quarterbacks practiced running the ball. Junior wide receiver Cael White made multiple grabs for the blue team, on good throws from fellow junior Dru Boyle and senior Ethan Graeme.
Graeme also showed some prowess on defense, pouncing on a fumble to end the blue offense's first possession. It was one of many opportunistic plays for the Madras defense, which played mostly in a 3-5 formation. The Buffs recovered numerous fumbles, recorded a few sacks and made an interception near the goal line during the scrimmage.
A number of those fumbles came during the snap, a problem that Taylor expects to be fixed soon.
"Our whole offensive line is new," he said, "and some of these guys were not playing offensive line at all before this year."
Despite their inexperience, the team's linemen do have something going for them: size.
"We're bigger than we were, and we're getting bigger," said Taylor, noting that he would prefer to have more depth in the trenches. Still, he was pleased with the effort he saw from his lineman.
"The blocking out there was really good today."
As the White Buffalos prepare for the football jamboree at Ridgeview High School this weekend, Taylor has some clear ideas on how he will prepare his team.
"Today was about making sure we know our assignments and fix up some things in coverage. Hopefully we can solidify those things, and then we can just let our athletes do what they do."
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