Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

SPORTS>>Tougher regimen no problem at Beebe

Leader sports editor

The first week of Beebe Badger two-a-days went off better than expected, even in the eyes of the man in charge of those practices, first-year head coach John Shannon.

This year is the first in many years that the Beebe Badgers have gone through two-a-days. Summer practices were usually just once a day under previous tutelage, but there has been no lack of effort under the more strenuous schedule.

“I was very, very impressed with the way we worked that first week,” Shannon said Tuesday morning. “We started with 48 and had one move it. We didn’t lose any players and we pushed ‘em pretty hard. I’m very pleased with the effort they showed.”
Even when the temperature shot into three digits and the team donned full gear, the intensity level stayed high.

Thursday and Friday of last week were the two hottest days of the year so far, and were also the first two days that Beebe went in full pads and scrimmaged.

“I really feel like as the week went along, we got better,” Shannon said. “The offense is really coming along. They’re a little ahead of the defense right now, but we worked a lot more on offense over the summer, so we sort of expected that.”
The offense dominated Thursday’s scrimmage, but after just one day, the defense improved greatly.

“We didn’t really hit like I wanted us to hit on that first day of scrimmage,” Shannon said. “The offense was still ahead the second day, but the defense did a lot better. We came back on Friday and the defense hit a whole lot better.”

There was a bit of a drop-off the following Monday. Shannon wasn’t totally surprised that it happened, but was a bit confused about when it happened.

“We had a bad day of practice Monday,” Shannon said. “You pretty much expect one of those every year during two-a-days, and we were due because had six great days the first week. It’s just that usually it comes at the end of a week when they’re tired and sore. It was a strange time to have a bad practice, and I hope it’ll be the only one we have.”

At first glance, the 49 players that are out seems low for a 5A school, but Shannon isn’t concerned about it.

“I’ve talked to some other coaches in our conference and we’re right at about the average,” Shannon said. “You always wish you had more, but I don’t see the numbers we have as any sort of disadvantage.”

There has been only one injury. Halfbackk/defensive back James Anderson suffered a fractured collarbone. It’s not a major break, and Anderson is expected to be back in four to six weeks.

The battle for the starting quarterback job is still not settled. Charlie Spakes and Roger Glaude have each performed well, and a starter will likely be named by the end of this week.

“At this point we feel pretty comfortable with either one of them,” Shannon said. “The only thing is, whichever one doesn’t start at quarterback, will be starting on defense, so we need to make that decision and move forward from there.”
Overall, Shannon is still very pleased and very optimistic about how things have gone so far.

“I tell the kids I feel better about where we’re at now than I ever thought I would at this point,” Shannon said. “There is definitely a hunger for success from this group of kids and they’re putting the work in to achieve a high level of success.”