by Buckeye ELO
I attended the East Liverpool Potters football scrimmage on Tuesday and watched for about an hour and a half. My thoughts are:
Marky Thompson can throw a football. Standing still and throwing to receivers across the middle or going down the sideline, he was accurate in the 10- to 15-yard range hitting crossing receivers with rope-like passes and accurate in hitting sprinting receivers down field along the sideline at between 40 and 50 yards. He could stand in the end zone beside the goal post and drop the ball into receivers’ hands between the 30 and 40 yard lines as they ran downfield.
One would have to use geometry to calculate that additional yardage the angle from the goalpost to the sideline would add at those distances, but it would add some, which means his throws were in the air 40-50 yards. However, that is all meaningless since the Potters are going to run the same "spread" offense they did last year. More on that later.
Most of the scrimmage consisted of one group running 8-on-8 drills with five defensive linemen and three linebackers going against five offensive linemen, a quarterback, and two running backs. In other words, it was blocking, running, and tackling practice. Willie Leavell got free a few times on quick hitters off tackle and also around the end.
While this was going on, Marky and two other quarterback hopefuls were working with receivers in what I already described. By the way, the receivers going downfield were covered by defensive backs. Marky Thompson (who was wearning #9 Tuesday and #19 last Friday night) seems to be in competition with #8, whoever he is. The other two QB hopefuls don't really seem to be that much in the mix, at least not at present.
During the hour and half I was there, I saw no 11-on-11 drills with or without passing plays. I sincerely hope they are spending time in practice with the offensive linemen pass protecting. That was a huge weakness last year: Willie running for his life and being taken down for huge losses because defensive linemen and/or linebackers had come through the line untouched.
It is very difficult for linemen, especially on the high school level, to pass block for a roll-out quarterback, which is what we have with a spread offense. Also, it is very hard for the high school quarterback to pass with accuracy and distance while running laterally. These are advanced football skills.
The playoff teams that played at Patterson Field last year ran spread offenses, but they also had pocket passing plays, and those plays were very effective for both teams. I hope the Potters have pocket passing plays too. It’s far easier to pass block for a pocket passer.
Just before I left, the offense did run some passing plays with receivers going down field against linebackers and secondary. Thompson and the other QBs would sprint out to one side or the other and throw, but of course there was no rushing the QB, so again the results could be very misleading. It was not actual game conditions, and there were more missed passes and some interceptions as a result of the QB throwing on the run. All of the QBs had misses and interceptions.
It is a shame if they have a kid that can pass the ball to saddle him with a offense that is 90% running and what passing is done is mostly on-the-run option passing. They don't need a true QB for that. All they need is a tailback who can throw a little.
The East Liverpool Potters 2009 varsity football schedule:
Fri 08/28/09 @ Beaver Local 7:00 p.m.
Fri 09/04/09 @ Oak Glen 7:30 p.m.
Fri 09/11/09 Steubenville (Patterson Field) 7:30 p.m.
Fri 09/18/09 Youngstown Chaney (Patterson Field) 7:30 p.m.
Fri 09/25/09 @ Maple Heights 7:30 p.m.
Fri 10/02/09 @ Martins Ferry 7:30 p.m.
Fri 10/09/09 John Marshall (Patterson Field) 7:30 p.m.
Fri 10/16/09 Wheeling Park (Patterson Field) 7:30 p.m.
Sat 10/24/09 @ Linsly Academy 1:30 p.m.
Fri 10/30/09 Salem (Patterson Field) 7:30 p.m.