Redskins stay vanilla at sneak peek
By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Two very clear differences could be seen at the annual Soap & Towel scrimmage for this year’s edition of the Liberal Redskin when compared to the past two years — aggression and conditioning.
And still, first-year head coach Cliff Abbott isn’t satisfied with the level of intensity.
“The enthusiasm was a little flat,” Abbott said after watching the tune-up session Friday night at Redskin Field. “We weren’t playing with the heart of a Redskin yet.”
Abbott has high expectations for intensity, and the scrimmage allowed him to sit back, take some notes, and watch for weaknesses more than strengths.
“We exposed some things,” he said. “Our timing and focus wasn’t always where it needed to be. We will go to work at correcting our mistakes.”
After the glorified practice session ended at 8:30 p.m., Abbott expected his coaching staff to meet at 6 a.m. Saturday morning to start the adjustment process.
While Abbott was focused on improving his team, there were several signs for Redskin fans that this might be a fun team to watch.
For one, Britton Abbott was able to find Trenton Hammond over the middle for a completion, and Hammond ran the rest of the way to the end zone for a touchdown.
J.J. Lewis also provided another key target for the sophomore quarterback.
Running back Justin McPhail didn’t see a lot of action, but that was more than likely a tactical decision by the Redskin coaching staff with the Ulysses Tiger coaches in the stands watching every move.
But McPhail still found the end zone as a defender when he intercepted a pass and returned it four a touchdown. Abbott did the same thing.
And the strength of the Redskins just might be on the defensive side of the ball as is typical early in the season. There was very little success for the junior varsity against the starting defense.
After showing an exclusive under-center formation for the varsity, the Redskins went to the shotgun with the freshmen offense.
A highlight for the younger squad was a nice 15-yard run by Rex Heronemus on a third-and-long situation.
It was clear that the Redskins have been involved in heavier hitting drills under Abbott. The helmets told the story with scrapes and abrasions. That’s why there were no decals on the helmets yet.
After the scrimmage, the Redskins ran through a series of sprints, another indication of the physical conditioning that is expected under Abbott.
“We will play with enthusiasm and heart and Redskin spirit,” Abbott said. “Our fans can expect that. It will show.”