The Burnet High School football team’s defense shined Aug. 7 as the first week of fall training camp ended.
The defense swarmed to the ball and kept quarterbacks out of rhythm.
Head coach Jerod Rye said he was happy with the defense and saw areas of improvement for the offense. The biggest is getting more repetitions for the offensive line, he said.
“On our offensive line, we’re trying to find the right combination,” Rye said. “At minimum, we have three new starters against our defense that uses multiple fronts. It’s trial by fire right now. It’s usually going to be a defensive win.”
Quarterbacks simply couldn’t stay in the pocket and let a play develop because the defensive front seven were constantly in the backfield. The defense recorded an interception and a couple of plays for negative yards during Friday’s drills.
“They’re confusing our guys upfront,” Rye said. “It made it tough.”
Rye saw plenty of other positives throughout the week, including having almost 120 athletes in grades 9-12 on the field. Coaches were unsure how many would turn up for fall camp due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m pleased with our numbers,” Rye said. “That was amazing with all the COVID situation. More showed up than usual. The depth we have and our kids’ efforts have been phenomenal.”
Burnet coaches had to help players knock off the rust during the first week of practice. Many of the students were participating in organized athletics for the first time since early March, just before Gov. Greg Abbott shut down school campuses statewide due to the pandemic.
Rye was impressed with how far the players came in five days.
“I would tell you that what we saw today compared to (the first day of camp Aug. 3) is unbelievably drastic,” Rye said.
Training continues throughout this week with a intersquad scrimmage on Saturday.
The Bulldogs are following COVID-19 safety protocols during fall camp, including wearing face coverings when not actively practicing, bringing their own water bottles, submitting to temperatures checks, and spacing out during meetings.
Coaches and athletic trainers also monitor players’ hydration. Each player is weighed before and after every practice so trainers can see the percentage of fluid they’ve lost during a workout. The next day, a player’s weight is compared against the previous day’s number to determine if they are hydrated enough to practice.
“It’s another way we monitor,” Rye said. “I feel like we’re doing all we can.
While they acknowledged that face coverings are uncomfortable, especially on artificial turf without shade, coaches and players all agree they’ll do what needs to be done to play football in 2020.
“I’ll wear it every day,” Rye said. “Our kids are getting used to it.”
The Bulldogs’ only scrimmage of the 2020 season is against Lake Belton at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at Bulldog Field, 1400 Bulldog Stadium Drive in Burnet.
Burnet begins the regular season Friday, Aug. 28, at home against Jarrell. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.