St. Paul continues to prep for the move to 11-man football at preseason team camp
ST. PAUL St. Paul has been busy preparing to make the jump from 8-man to 11-man football all summer and got back to work last week at its annual preseason team camp.
Switching back to 11-man is like going back to younger days, fourth- and fifth- and sixth-grade, senior Cody Faber said. Its kind of exciting.
The Bucks began the transition to 11-man with classroom sessions at the end of the school year and saw their first action at the Gold Beach team camp, where they scrimmaged with their full squad and participate in 7-on-7 contests.
They enjoyed all of that, so I think theyre enjoying it, head coach Tony Smith said. Theres a little more to 11-man as far as coverages you might see or the fronts you might see or the fronts you might be in. Thats all different. A lot of times I think different is exciting. Change is exciting if you approach it correctly.
For some players, like diminutive running back Ryan Soumokil, 11-man will be a welcome change of pace because of the greater variety of positions offered.
I think its going to be a lot of fun, Soumokil said. There are a lot more openings for smaller guys and its a better game than 8-man; 8-man is a lot of running. You just get to the sideline and its easy. With this you have to do a lot more.
The camp followed the OSAAs mandatory moratorium on team activities or dead week, so the energy at camp was high.
I think everybodys just ready to get into it, Soumokil said. The weather has just been nice. It hasnt been too hot where people are just dying and it hasnt been freezing, so everybody is just pumped up to play football.
With another week to drill on 11-man formations, especially on defense where the concepts change a lot more drastically than they do on offense, Smith said he hasnt gotten the feeling the team is further behind than it would be if it had stayed in Class 1A.
The players, who kicked off three weeks of official practice Monday before the season opener versus Crow at home Sept. 5, have also been pleasantly surprised with the process.
Its a lot smoother than I expected, Faber said. I thought itd be a lot rockier. I didnt think it would be that rocky, but maybe a little hitch in it. Its actually been a lot smoother. I like it.
For junior Nick Gooding, getting back onto the practice field just means that life is returning to normal, no matter how many players St. Paul will take the field.
Football is a lifestyle around here, Gooding said. As soon as baseball or whatever you do in the spring ends, you switch into football and its that until it ends.