Leader Blues

Monday, May 21, 2007

SPORTS >>Beebe springs into dead T

IN SHORT: New Badger head coach John Shannon brings his experience as Cabot offensive coach to Beebe, along with the set.

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

After four days of spring practice, including two in full pads, the new-look Beebe Badgers have taken some long strides in learning the new offense of new coach John Shannon.

The Beebe players aren’t going through just any old adjustment that typically comes with a new coach. They’re attempting to vault the entire spectrum of offenses, going from the widest of wide-open spread formations that was employed by exited coach Cam Prock, to the tightly compact dead T offense utilized by Shannon.

In just two days of full contact, Shannon has seen progress, but what he’s most excited about is the team’s willingness.

“I’m very pleased with the effort we’re getting from the kids,” Shannon said. “They are making progress. The first group has already picked up on what we want them to do. They’re making the right calls at the line of scrimmage, so that tells me that they’re listening and learning. We have a long way to go though on technique, and that’s just going to take repetition.”

Repetition is the perfect word to describe the first few days of practice. The team broke up into one group of linemen and two groups of backs, and repeated the same drills over and over and over trying to hone the unique technique involved in running the dead-T option and blocking schemes.

Shannon, who was a lineman in high school and college and coached offensive line at Cabot the last several years, worked mostly with the linemen in drills, and has been pleased so far.

“They’re working hard,” Shannon said. “They’re used to pass blocking all the time, and this is totally different. We’re trying to teach them to run block, which is a lot of staying low and plowing forward, and they’re just not used to that, but they’re improving. As long as they’re willing to keep working hard, we’re going to keep improving. It’s something new that we need to keep doing over and over and over.”

One thing Shannon did like was the size on his line.
“I’m very pleased with our size,” Shannon said. “We don’t really have any monsters over there, but we’ve got some tall kids that are solid. There’s definitely a lot to work with athletically on the lines.”

Shannon says it’s still too early to say much about an overall depth chart, but did say the offensive skill players are starting to come into focus.

Roger Glaude and Charlie Spakes are working with the first-team offense. Luke Gardner, Sammy Williams and Kyle Williams have gotten most of the first-team reps in the three running back positions.

“The rest of the positions, it’s still just a little too early to talk about,” Shannon said. “Nothing is really set completely. We’ve got a lot to look at between now and summer. A lot could change. We’re still looking for a lot of people to step up, but I like where we’re at right now.”