Spring football practice is what it is.
It’s allotted time to work with the team heading into the summer, allowing the coaches to get some idea of what kind of talent will be mixed in the two-deep depth charts.
In reality, without the use of pads, the 10 practice sessions in a three-week period can be hard to define.
Now that it’s over, the focus moves to 7-on-7 passing tournaments and offseason workouts.
“We accomplished what we could, but when you don’t use pads, it is hard to do some of the things we’d like to do,” Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. “We put in our base offense and defense so the kids know what to do.
“Without hitting you can’t do everything, however, you can find out who is willing to put in the effort and find out some things about some of the players (from junior varsity) that you haven’t really worked with before now.”
Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista have the talent and coaching staffs to be state contenders each season.
Will it come to fruition again this fall?
Both coaches seem to think so but that the work needed to do so doesn’t begin in August.
A lot of the groundwork to a successful season should have already started.
“(Last spring) we came in ready to work and get things done,” Desert Vista junior offensive lineman Zack Tamburo said. “I saw that same type of approach this time. We won it all and it was great, but that was a different team. We can build off that but we have to work to get back there again.”
Mountain Pointe will attend the Arizona, Arizona State and Northern Arizona 7-on-7 tournaments. The Pride is still searching for an opponent to scrimmage in August leading up to the season opener against Hamilton around Aug. 24.
Desert Vista will also be at the Arizona, ASU and NAU 7-on-7 tournaments and will scrimmage Brophy before playing in the Sollenberger Classic against Palo Verde of Nevada at University of Phoenix Stadium on Aug. 18.
“We got everything accomplished we planned,” Desert Visa coach Dan Hinds said. “We did everything we wanted to do. To be honest, at this time last year I felt like we were prepared to take that next step. I told them (Thursday) that this group is more prepared.”
As hard as spring practice might be to gauge without pads, 7-on-7 tournaments might be even more misleading with the four other players nowhere to be seen on the field.
It will be especially beneficial this season for both area schools as they break in new quarterbacks as Antonio Hinojosa at Mountain Pointe and Matt Young at Desert Vista will take advantage of the reps.
With that said there will probably be a flash-in-the-pan-type team in the month of June that will be forgotten about by the fifth week of the regular season.
“Some of the top of 7-on-7 teams every year don’t do anything (in the regular season),” Vaughan said. “It has some definite value, but you can’t put too much weight in to it.”
Hinds said over the years that other coaches put too much emphasis on trying to win these events.
“They run these crazy schemes, things they would never use in the fall, and do well with it,” he said. “Everything we run in 7-on-7 is our offense. You can’t go crazy and get away from what you do or you are not going to get better. At least that is the way we approach it.”
It is not to downplay the significance of spring ball and the passing leagues, but more of a desire to speed up the clock in order for the pads to come out of the equipment room and put on the broad shoulders of players like the Pride’s Kenny Lacy and the Thunder’s Lorenzo Melvin.
“This is all we have until then so you make the most of it,” Vaughan said. “A lot can be accomplished and that’s what we try to do every year.”
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