The Lindsay Knights picked up their first win of the 7-on-7 football season last week in the Valley View tournament, so as they transitioned into Week 3, the Knights were looking to continue their recent uptick in play.
However, Lindsay dropped both games Thursday, June 6, to Valley View and Ponder to move to 1-4-1 in the summer season.
Regardless, the Knights’ coaches are still pleased with their play and moreover are happy about the sheer experience the players are getting.
Lindsay offensive coordinator Zach Birdwell said the games change as different players try different roles and that the results don’t define success.
“I mean, we’ve had a little bit of different personnel here, but there are positives,” Birdwell said. “I mean, we had lots of starters at the end of the night catch 20 footballs and that’s what I keep preaching. By the end of the end of the summer, you’re going to have kids that have caught an extra 200-300 passes and that’s what we want.”
Some teams design offenses and defense particular to 7-on-7.
Not the Knights.
They want to mimic their fall system as much as possible during the summer and sometimes that leads to situations that don’t reflect what could transpire in September.
“You see a lot of teams come out and they’ll run,” Birdwell said. “We’re running our real defense so they’re getting reps and we are learning the offense. We’re here to get better for August and that’s what we keep telling the kids, on Aug. 5, nobody will remember anything that happened out here. We won’t run a single play out here that we have not run because everybody goes press-man defense, so you can run your switch routes and pick routes. We won’t be a team that runs out with the 10 perfect play card and run.”
Walker Turbeville, Colt Sugars and Braxton Craigie are all batting for the starting quarterback positions, but it was Craigie that took the reps in Week 3.
Birdwell was pleased with what he saw from Craigie.
“He has positive and negatives, but 7-on-7 is good for him,” Birdwell said. “He’s gonna leave here with an extra 100 reps. It’s a three-way battle that we will just continue to evaluate throughout the summer.”
Despite falling 17-0 to Valley View for its second win of the summer, Birdwell said he thought the Eagles’ defensive looks were a welcome sight.
“It’s another reason I’m a big fan of 7-on-7,” Birdwell said. “You see so much press and you see so many different looks. It’s great for our releases for receivers working against press and you hear the kids complaining that the defense was pushing and you should never get touched. It’s a great chance for us to work on all our different press, loose and foot-fire releases. So I’m a big fan of that part.”
The Knights came close to winning in Game 2, but fell 23-19. Birdwell said he was happy the team overcame its second straight slow start.
“We started off a little sluggish and then picked it up,” Birdwell said. “It came down to the very end. We drove and scored with about two minutes left and we needed to make a stop. They hit a little post route for a touchdown the very first play and then we drove the field and threw an interception.”
Birdwell said the main hope for this next week of practice is for the team to continue picking up on the play terminology and familiarizing itself with the offense.
“For the kids to just see the plays and hear the plays and just continually rep them, when they get to August it will just be second nature to them,” Birdwell said. “That’s not just this next week. That’s every single week. So just continue to hear those plays and know exactly what to do because we want we want to throw the ball come August.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip