By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The trick this year will be being efficient with what they have and that age-old phrase that pays in team comradery will be as important as having an army of depth.
With roughly 18 guys out Wednesday evening for their third day of practice, Salem Academy Football will have the challenge of not just learn Head Coach Jed Leeper’s system, but to be efficient with what they have.
But again, Scio last season was in the same boat with the same amount of kids and went 8-3 overall with a 5-0 league record before falling in the 3A Quarterfinals.
“They’re getting a lot of reps and with us being very organized as coaches and understanding our purpose at the end of the day will help us be efficient,” said Leeper. “Sometimes you’ll have to go half-line, and that’s not a big deal, we’re going to run right or left anyway. We just got to make sure they know what their job is if it is ran away from them and doing a good job explaining that.”
They’re inquisitive, pointed out Leeper, with their eagerness to learn and improve with practice, chalk talks, etc. that has helped the process of the teaching and absorbing of the information handed out from coach to player while doing at a healthy pace without wearing out the kids.
During 7-on’s at Woodburn a few weeks ago, Brandon Reed was talking audibles and plays with Leeper in between games as the incoming Junior takes over full-time at quarterback this season for Salem Academy.
As a sophomore, Reed saw spot quarterback action coming in for relief for Cole Hardy, but saw a lot of action on defense that has helped him developed those important relationships entering this season.
“It helped a lot working with teammates and stuff. I got to play a lot on defense and it helped me make a bond with a lot of my guys and stuff,” said Reed.
With one Senior this year, youth will be a good thing moving forward as they run their base flex-bone formation with the quarterback in the pistol. Leeper explained that preferred under-center but understands that the Crusaders recent history with the shotgun offense, so the pistol is a happy median as long as the snaps are good said the first-year SA Head Coach.
And with the Crusaders having played that Loggers team that finished last season with about 24 guys after starting the season closer to 19, they knew the toughness that the Scio team brought in their Week 4 non-league match-up that they’ll need to have this season with their own low numbers.
“Toughness for sure,” starts Reed. “We just got to be tough. Last year we were tough, but I think this year we have to be really hard-nose, bear down and do our jobs.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald