Exactly six weeks before its first game, the Dadeville football team traveled to Tallassee for its second set of organized team activities (OTAs) of the summer. Despite making the trip without some key players, the Tigers showed plenty of effort and coach Richard White was pleased with what he saw from his team.
“I thought we competed well (Thursday),” White said. “I’m not really worried about results right now because those don’t start until Aug. 22. We had a lot of positive attitudes and overall, I was pleased with how things happened.”
White said the goal of the day was just to see how his players competed against other teams. Dadeville faced off against Tallassee and Talladega — two teams from higher classifications — and White said it was good for the Tigers to face the challenge.
“We’re just looking to get some work against somebody else,” White said. “We get to see a lot of different things instead of looking at each other all the time. These give us a chance to see where we are and hopefully shows the kids where they are individually.”
The goal for the Tigers now will be to recognize where their weaknesses are and try to correct them prior to the season opener against Horseshoe Bend. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that could be hard to do with so many key players missing from the camp Thursday.
“It’s hard to judge from the first one to the second one because I don’t have the same people here,” White said. “I still liked our overall effort (Thursday) more than I did from our first one.”
Dadeville took the field at Tallassee without seven starters which had a clear effect on the team throughout the evening. The Tigers had three starters on the offensive line missing which caused the offense into a lot of negative plays.
“We don’t want to make any excuses but we had eighth-graders on our line and you could tell,” White said. “Quarterbacks didn’t have time to do anything but those young kids needed that work so I’m glad they got it. Hopefully they have an idea of the speed of this game and how it’s supposed to be played.”
White said the best time to get reps for inexperienced players is with the scoreboard off. The coaching staff wants that challenge for the younger linemen to help them understand the speed of the game at the varsity level.
“That can be hard to do,” White said. “They’re still used to that slow-paced, junior high football mentality. When you get to the varsity, you have to be more accountable because you have more responsibilities on you. We can’t afford to let anything slide at this level.”
While there were some struggles on offense, Dadeville’s defense looked good against the bigger schools. White said the coaches have been moving around a lot of players on defense to try to find the best spot for players who have to play on both sides of the ball.
“I thought we played better in the secondary, which we should because we have veterans back there,” White said. “We’re young at linebacker and that told on us a little bit (Thursday) but hopefully the more work we put in, the more they’ll progress so we can get there before the first ball game.”
White said he feels like his team benefits more from the OTAs than just a 7-on-7 camp. After two sets of OTAs and a summer full of workouts, White said he can see the progress the Tigers are making on the field.
“We still have some work to do in conditioning but it’s now mostly about fine tuning what we’re doing on the field,” White said. “It’s about timing on offense and getting people in the right place on defense.”