Bulldogs learning new formations for season ahead
Through a few bumps and bruises and temperatures in the 90s, the first week of practice for Baldwin High School's football team went fairly smooth last week.
Although there were several players without pads and not playing for Saturday's scrimmage, head coach Mike Berg said the injuries were minor to this point and expects everyone to be back in pads this week.
"We haven't lost anyone yet," said Berg. "I think everyone is going to be back Monday.
Saturday's scrimmage was just for the team, unlike the annual Gatorade Scrimmage scheduled for Friday night at the BHS practice field. Bulldog fans will have their first chance to see this year's team when the freshmen square off at 7 p.m. for half an hour, followed by the upperclassmen who will play 45 minutes to an hour.
Berg liked what he saw Saturday and hopes that continues through the week and at Friday's public-viewing scrimmage.
"Saturday morning went very well," said Berg. "We had a bunch of young kids that really stepped up and played well. We had a couple of sophomore linemen, Kyle Ruona and Justin Jones, who really stepped it up and are looking good."
The offensive line is always a key and with only one returning starter, senior Dan Hamilton, Berg is looking for candidates who want to play. So far, he's pleased to have numerous players show that there won't be a shortage of linemen.
There also won't be a shortage of change for the Bulldogs this year, as they move to both a new offense and defense. Berg attended a clinic this summer and "fell in love" with the Wing-T offense. On defense, the porous 4-4 that's been used for the last several years has been punted in favor of a 5-2.
"We're learning the new defense, which is a 5-2 with a monster back that steps up," he said. "It really has been doing a lot of good things. Our young kids are liking it and the older ones are starting to like it, too."
The offense is taking hold, too, as BHS makes the switch to the old-style Wing-T.
"It's a good offense for misdirection," said Berg. "With a wingback, off set back and fullback right behind the quarterback, it gives you a lot of misdirection, a lot of bootlegs off it and we can even pass off it."
That means it won't be the I-formation anymore where Micah Mason slugged out well over 1,000 yards as a sophomore last year. The misdirection will keep teams guessing where the ball is going and who has it.
"We know who people are going to key on," he said.
Although there's plenty of emphasis on the new offense and defense, there's also plenty of attention squarely on what makes football go around pure fundamentals.
"We are going to try to get better technique wise, get our kids back healthy and get in shape," said Berg.
Friday's scrimmage will also provide a venue to recognize participants in other sports and activities, such as band and cheerleading.