Cavemen Football Update
Photo credit: @cavemensports on twitter
Football season is getting close to state playoff time, and the cavemen are starting to prepare for that.
Every year has it’s differences, but this year one big difference is experience.
Associate Head Coach Gregg Smith on the differences, “Not having the access to the practice field at the start of the season has been a minor obstacle. Also starting 7-8 sophomores on defense is a first for me in my 20 years here.”
Co-Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shaw on the key differences. “This year has been different than other from the standpoint of experience level, and varsity expectation. Typically, we have a group of 6-8 players that have experience both on the field and in the film room from the prior year, so usually it is not a big transition to bring the remaining guys up to par. This year, offensively, we only have 3 guys who had any varsity experience from last season in any variety, so we have had to tailor some of the teaching aspects of our offense, and spend a bit more time on the ‘why concepts’ instead of spending most of time on the x's and o's.”
Every year there are new things teams have to adjust to. “I have learned that every group is different, year in and year out. Every team has their different motivations and different things make them click,” said Shaw.
“One of the big things we've adjusted this year is how we've introduced our scouting reports to our players. We realized we may not be giving them the new information the best way, so we adapted and are making that more interactive for our players,” Co-Offensive Keith Kinder on ways they’ve adjusted.
Mishawaka seems to be heading in the right direction, but there are still some things the coaches want to work on.
“We need to continue to get better at executing our assignments. Our offense demands that all 11 players execute their assignment for success so we need to make sure that we are continuing to improve in that area,” said Kinder. “I still want us to develop a "killer instinct" offensively. We talk about it weekly, and we have done a better job of it in recent weeks. We always talk about what makes a possession "perfect" and we are always striving to be perfect,” said Shaw
Both sides of the ball want to improve by the time the state tournament rolls around. The defense is very young but there are improving each week. “That is always the goal for weeks 1-9. We (the LOD) try to improve each week so when the tournament starts we are ready to advance,” Smith said.
Both Kinder and Shaw have really stressed communication. “Understanding of what we are trying to do offensively. Communication has become better since we have gone back and re-taught the offense, the players understand better why they have to communicate and what they should be figuring out on each play on a Friday night,” said Shaw.
Seniors Bryce McDonald and Noah Staton are two of the leaders on the defense that starts multiple sophomores.“We just have had to step up, and make sure everyone is on with their assignments,” Staton said. “We have improved improved since the start of the year, and we just want to go 1-0 every week and do our job,” McDonald added.
Since both are seniors, this is their last go around. “It’s fun, and we have a lot of responsibilities, but in all it’s fun,” McDonald said. “If I had to give advice to the younger players, it’d be make sure you give your best effort on and off the field even when nobody is watching,” said Staton.
The cavemen are 4-3 and have games against Marian and Penn. They will open up against Clay, in the first round of sectionals. Everyone has one common goal, “we want some hardware of some sort, and go as deep in the tournament as we can.”