At last year’s football camp at Franklin College, the Brownstown Central football team worked by trial and error with a new offense.
This past week, they felt much more comfortable in the shotgun wing-T as they took on a handful of teams as they battled with teams from across the state.
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“It’s a lot better this year than last year,” Braves coach Reed May said. “Last year, we put in the new offense. We have some new kids in new positions. I think we’re doing pretty well at throwing and running the ball.”
From Wednesday to Friday, the Braves took the Grizzlies’ field to run 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills on both sides of the ball.
Thursday, in the early session, the Braves battled with Martinsville before going up against Zionsville later that night.
“Now, you actually get to go against somebody else on both ends,” May said. “Today was the first time we went 11-on-11. We get to see how well our kids block and follow assignments.”
Offensively, the Braves pounded the ball well with a number of players, while also airing it out with senior quarterback Kyle Kramer.
Gavin Bane, who led the Braves with 1,306 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns in 2015, believes the running game will be strong this season.
“I think our backfield is pretty strong,” Bane, a senior, said. “We’re going to do a good job running and throwing the ball. We have most all our backfield back besides John McKinney. I thought, (on Thursday), we did really well.
“It’s good to go up against someone bigger and stronger. It’s more practice, and another chance to get better. I like playing against these other teams.”
May said that the offense aims to cause confusion in the 2016 season.
“We are pretty much running the same thing offense but adding some wrinkles,” he said. “We’ve got some misdirection we’re running in the offense. Our offense is the type that, if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare for it, it’s kind of tough to play against.
“That’s why we run it, teams only have four days to prepare for it. You can’t simulate the speed of the offense in a practice.”
May said that the defense did a nice job of “flying around,” and creating havoc against Martinsville.
Cameron Eggersman, a senior middle linebacker, likes the way the defense is coming along.
“I think we’ve got a strong defensive line and have a good backfield returning,” Eggersman said. “We’re returning everyone in the back except one (McKinney). On the D-line, we have Joe Barnes coming in and he’s a big guy — he’s in the 1,000 power club and he’s a big boy.
In the backfield, we will have Kramer, (Gus) Hogan and (Devin) Stuckwisch returning, and I’m in there now. I’m trying to learn it, we lost Jacob Brewer and he was a three-years starter (at middle linebacker). We need someone to step up to the plate and I’m hoping to get the job done.”
Eggersman said that the Braves will need to win the turnover ratio in games to put themselves in position for victories.
“We have some guys that can make big plays,” he said. “We’re going to cause some disruption on the line. If we have the (opposing) offense scrambling we have plenty of guys in the backfield who can get it done.”
The Braves will resume their normal Monday, Wednesday, Friday practices at the high school next week.
This year’s roster yields 45 players, five more than 2015, with a few coming back to the program after taking one to two years off.
Brownstown lost 12 seniors to graduation.
The Braves, who finished with a sectional title and 10-3 record last season, will play at Paoli for their first game on August 19.
The Brownstown Central football program has a busy summer ahead of them. Here are a few of the events to watch out for:
July 16: 7-on-7 lineman challenge at West Washington high school.
July 18-19: Freshman camp at BCHS.
July 18-22: 56ers camp and middle school camp at BCHS.
July 22: Superstars Night at BCHS.
July 23: 7-on-7 lineman challenge at BCHS.
August 5: BCHS towel scrimmage.
August 12: Jennings County at BCHS football scrimmage.