The Upson-Lee Knights, Jones County Greyhounds, and Manchester Blue Devils all got a lot better last week. The three teams competed in an 11 vs. 11 mini camp at Matthews Field. This was the first 11 vs. 11 the Knights have been a part of, and it’s something which new head coach Tommy Parks will make a priority each summer.
The Knights have participated in many 7 vs. 7 competitions, where two teams will essentially play a passing only game, keeping score with touchdowns. In those contests, the two teams only use their “skilled” players in the contest, which consists of quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers on offense, and linebackers and secondary players on defense.
However, in the 11 vs. 11 practices, the teams add their offensive and defensive lines. Although not in pads, the teams will go through their running plays, passing plays, and different defensive schemes without tackling. There is however, some contact involved, giving teams the opportunity to see other players, getting the chance to compete against other schools before the season starts. Playing in an 11 vs. 11 practice also gives the coaches a chance to get all of their players some action on the field, and continue their evaluation process.
During the beginning of the first session, the teams were split up into playing “inside games” and “outside games.” The “inside games” consisted of the offensive and defensive lines working on their running games, while the outside games consisted of the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and secondary players, allowing teams to work on their passing game, which is basically a 7 vs. 7 competition.
After the inside and outside games were complete, the teams rotated offense and defense, playing 11 vs. 11, with both passing and running. The Knights’ next action on Matthews Field will come against Troup County, when Upson-Lee takes on Troup County in a scrimmage game on August 15, ultimately preparing for their season opener on September 5 at Pike County.
This week the Knights will be competing in their annual Iron Man Competition, where every player will take part in drills measuring their strength, speed, and agility. The Times will keep readers posted over the next week when Upson-Lee will name their 2014 Iron Man.