|Sophomore Shane Straw hauled in a touchdown against Centerville.
JULY 13, 2013 - CENTERVILLE
For several years one of the ten camp days allocated to the Covington football program were used in the 7-on-7 scrimmage at Northmont.
Yes, the Northmont scrimmage was a competitive atmosphere and Covington faired fairly well - finishing second a year ago - but Buccaneer coach Dave Miller felt whole heartedly that the one camp day could be better utilized.
"Seven-on-seven scrimmages are alright, but we felt we weren't getting a realistic feel for our defense and our offense for that matter," said Miller. "Even though you aren't tackling in a seven-on-seven, we want to be physical. It's still football."
Which made for a perfect situation for the Buccs with a trip to compete against an outstanding Division I program like Centerville.
"It's like getting a great scout look," Miller said. "They (Centerville) were coming after us and we had to pick up the pace in order to compete. This was a great experience for us."
What also made it more beneficial is the fact that both teams could run the ball, instead of dropping back to pass without the threat of a pass rush.
"We're not a drop back passing team and neither are they (Centerville)," Miller explained. "I think both teams got a lot out of it."
What Covington came away with from the day of competition was the fact that much more work needs to be done, especially after a slow start.
"We need to learn to come out faster, with a more sense of urgency," said Miller. "We can't continue to be reactive. We have to learn to come out firing on all cylinders."
Slow starts have been the Buccs' achilles heel in big games in the past.
"You go back to the Coldwater game last year, we fumbled on our first possession on a fourth-and-one and they scored," Miller continued. "Then, we have a penalty on our next possession that forced us to punt and they score again. We were down 14-0 before we started to play football. We can't do that against great teams like Coldwater."
What Centerville did to Covington on Saturday was very similar to what Coldwater did as the Elks scored on their first two possessions.
"Those first two touchdowns by them is what we have to learn to avoid," Miller explained. "We came out flat and they put two quick ones on us."
It didn't take long for Covington to get out of its funk, however, as AJ Ouellette connected with sophomore Shane Straw on a pretty pass down the middle to put the Buccs on the board.
From there, Covington played the Elks even up throughout the remainder of the glorified practice - even with players on both sides getting a little testy with each other due to the physical nature of the competition.
"I'm happy with the way our kids responded and competed there after the slow start," Miller said. "We got a lot out of this. This was a situation where we could actually coach the kids and let them know right away what mistakes they were making. We got so much more out of this than your typical seven-on-seven scrimmage."
While the skill players were competing on the field, the lineman had their own competition on the sideline - competing against each other in lineman drills.
And Miller came away pleased with the effort of his kids.
"They (Centerville) have a good amount of size and weight on us, but from what I gathered from our line coaches our kids handled themselves pretty well," said Miller.
Now the Buccaneers will take the lessons learned from their first action against another team and work to improve on the mistakes.
"It's early and we made a lot of mistakes with our assignments and those are things we can correct,," concluded Miller. "But overall, other than the slow start, I felt our effort was pretty good."
Which is something to build on throughout the remaining camp days.