By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The Plainsmen get their first opportunity to measure up against opposition when they scrimmage today at Bixby. It also will be the first chance to see how junior quarterback Freddy Lawrence measures up.
“We need to see what Freddy can show us,” said Plainsmen head coach Steve Chard. “This is different than practice.”
While it won’t be a practice, it won’t quite be a game situation either. The Plainsmen and host Bixby will be joined by five other schools — Tulsa East Central, Ponca City, Owasso, Sapulpa and Norman.
The Plainsmen varsity will primarily scrimmage against East Central, Bixby and Norman with a 20-minute scrimmage against Norman to wrap up the session. It won’t be a full field scrimmage as the teams start at the 40-yard line. Two other teams, Owasso and East Central, will be scrimmaging at the same time on the other side of the field.
“These scrimmages, the way they are set up, it’s really for the offense,” Chard said. “You get a little disjointed on defense playing against a different scheme every 10 minutes.”
With offenses getting a chance to shine, the Plainsmen are anxious to see what Lawrence, who is projected as the starter, can do at quarterback.
“We feel confident in Fred, but we also know this is a hard position,” Chard said. “There’ll be some growing pains like with any young quarterback, but he brings a lot to the table.”
So far, Chard has liked what he has seen from Lawrence, including bringing a positive attitude on the field.
“If you want to be grouch and gruff at guard, that’s OK,” Chard said. “But you can’t act like that at quarterback and he’s done a great job of that, patting guys on the back and keeping it positive.
“I told him ‘this is a pressure position and we are going to pressure you up.’”
The team also will use the scrimmage to work on new facets of its defense as it integrates a 3-4 into its scheme to go along with its 4-2-5.
“We want to see how we compete against other varsity teams,” Chard said. “There’s a lot of marriages between blitzes and the coverage and we want to smooth out some wrinkles.”
As with any early season scrimmage, Chard said he expects there will be mistakes, but he also knows there’s a chance for some players to step up and get noticed, or for others to take a step back.
“There will probably be some kid that gets your attention that you didn’t necessarily notice in practice and there may be some some that don’t play as well as you hoped,” he said, adding hopefully the latter won’t be the case.
“We just hope to put our best foot forward, go out there and have some good, solid reps,” Chard said, adding it’s important to keep it in perspective.
“Don’t get too excited about the negative, and don’t get too fired up about the positives,” he said. “We’re ready, the kids are ready. Running sprints is no substitute for playing.”
Chard said there were no significant injuries.
Enid hosts Yukon Aug. 29 in its final scrimmage before opening the season at Choctaw on Sep. 6.