Pack ready for practicePublished 8:02pm Thursday, July 26, 2012
The excitement is building at Washington as the first official day of football practice is right around the corner. The Pam Pack has been working hard in the summer in preparation for the upcoming season and ninth-year coach Sport Sawyer said this offseason has been a productive one.
“The summer has been very good,” Sawyer said. “We have a big supporting cast coming back, there are a lot of seniors and upper-classmen. They’ve bonded and worked hard. We went to Elon for a football camp and they did well there. We’re just very excited that we have a bunch of players with a year under their belts.”
Experience is a tremendous advantage this time of year. Offensively, Washington will be running the midline option for the second straight season and Sawyer is hoping to reap the benefits of the unit’s continuity.
The Pam Pack has competed in several 7-on-7 passing games this summer, and while that doesn’t directly give the offense opportunities to work on the midline, it does give the coaches a tremendous opportunity to evaluate its skill players.
“We just want to make sure we have the right people in the right places,” Sawyer said. “There are some people that rose this summer and there are some people that we found out couldn’t play.”
So far, the Pam Pack’s veteran skill players have made the biggest impression.
“I really like (the play of) Jack Rodman, Stephon Moore, Stevie Green and D.J. Bell,” Sawyer said.
On the other side of the ball, Sawyer felt his defensive linemen have made major strides.
“Last year up front we weren’t very good. Teams were getting five yards a pop on us or more,” Sawyer said. “But, those same guys have worked hard in the offseason. They have worked very hard and our linebacking corps has done a lot work. I’m excited about them.”
After volleying between a 4-3 and a 3-4 last season, Washington will use a 4-4 as its base scheme this season with the hope that it can impose its will on its opponents run game.
“If you can’t stop the run then you’re not going to win ball games,” Sawyer said. “Last year we struggled against the run. This year they have learned and the players are more mature. We’re going to stop the run and if teams pass they are going to have to go through some tough DBs.”
The team will officially begin practice on July 30 and Sawyer said aside from learning the Xs and Os, the biggest factor for his team right now is its ability to be mentally tough.
“We have to get confidence,” Sawyer said. “I feel like if we get some confidence our team can reach its goals and the only way to get confidence is to come out and have good practices.”