Tigers going through the basics
The Green Forest Tigers have begun preparations for the 2017 football season. The Tigers weren't able to do much in spring practice, as they only had six practices and members of the soccer team were unable to join the football team because of the Class 4A state tournament. Coach Bobby Bishop says his team was able to learn from the time it got on the field, though.
"We have had some good sessions so far," Bishop said. "We are keeping it real basic and real fundamental. Just getting in a stance, taking a step. The plan was to just drill."
Green Forest averaged anywhere from 25-30 players at most practices. There are as many as 35 players signed up to play, but Bishop said it's difficult getting everyone out on the field at once.
"We have kids gone to soccer," Bishop said. "We have ninth-graders that can't be here early in the mornings. They have to go to class first period, so it's hit and miss. But we feel like we are getting some things accomplished with the kids. And there is no stress right now, so that's a good thing."
With the players that Bishop had to work with during spring practice, he wanted them to improve on the small things each day.
"I just want to see development in the fundamentals," Bishop said. "I want to see kids step with the right foot without stepping backwards and gaining a little knowledge of the game. Defensively, we are trying to work hard on stressing in that we have to play in space. Last year, we felt like we weren't very good in space. We weren't bad in tight conditions, but when you get us out in space, sometimes we trip and fall over ourselves. That comes with strength, skill development and athleticism. That's what we are trying to do in the limited time we have."
Matt Owens will be replacing Cory Bryant at the quarterback position. Owens got some snaps at the position last year and Bishop looks forward to what he can do this coming season.
"Matt got a lot of playing time last year," Bishop said. "Anytime we went to what we called our cheetah package where we put Cory out in the slot, that gave Matt some reps. He actually threw the touchdown against Marshall late in the game for us to come back and win that game. Hayden (Alvard) was our junior high quarterback. We didn't throw the ball a whole lot. He is kind of green. He has some improvements to make, but he is going to be a good football player if he works at it."
Bishop knows it is important for Owens and Alvard to each become confident throwing the football.
"We can't afford to be one-dimensional," Bishop said. "We threw the ball a lot more than I wanted to last year, but we weren't very effective at it, and we need to be more effective at it. We need to be more of a passing threat. We don't have to be a passing team, but we have to have the capability of throwing the football."
Green Forest's spring practice came to an end on Monday with an intrasquad scrimmage.