Friday, August 14, 2009

Football practice, Friday, August 14

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

Today's 11-on-11 drills were conducted on a shortened field. It looked as though the team was practicing the red-zone offense. Last season, the Vikings were last in the Big Sky Conference in red-zone offense. Opportunities for progress are minimized in the red-zone. A good combination of running plays and passing plays were called.

It is noteworthy to mention the quarterback situation at practice. With Tygue Howland's injury, the Vikings have less depth at the position, with just Connor Kavanaugh and Nick Green on the roster. At practice all week there has been another quarterback working with the team and today there was yet another. It is obvious watching them that they aren't nearly as experienced as the other three quarterbacks, but offensive coordinator Jim Craft has been very patient with them. After every snap he pulls them aside to explain what went wrong. Time will only tell if they find themselves on the roster, but so far it doesn't look too good.

After a week of practice, it is impossible not to have tremendous respect for what secondary coach Brandon Shelby is doing with the team. He's a quiet presence--he can't be heard yelling like the other position coaches. Though he only joined the team in February, his presence can be felt all over the line. It doesn't hurt that the secondary is heavy with talent, but his impact is undeniable.

When the defense lines up, Shelby comes up behind his players and will slightly move them or point something out to them. With these small tweaks, he sets them up for success. Almost without fail, every time he does this, whomever he was speaking with is either responsible for or in on the stop.

The players buy into his coaching too. After they receive an adjustment from him, you can see them looking for key things indicative of what the offense is doing and they become more productive. The secondary consistently looks good and under Shelby's guidance it seems posed to continue to impress.

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