DeKALB – For Sycamore quarterback Devin Mottet, heading to a 7-on-7 competition is a way for him to really figure out his receivers.
For RB/DB Dion Hooker, it's a way to read the techniques of opposing receivers.
Spartans coach Joe Ryan said it's beneficial for his defensive backs to work on coverages and for the players to get used to playing together.
“Just being around each other," he said. "Build camaraderie. There’s a lot to be said about that.”
Sycamore participated in its first 7-on-7 camp of the summer on Saturday at Northern Illinois University, being able to compete in front of the Huskies' coaching staff. The Spartans will compete in two more before preseason practice starts, going to Aurora Christian and heading down to Metamora.
To Mottet, a Daily Chronicle second-team all-area selection last season, participating in events like Saturday's is a chance for players to show what they can do. While he may be used to working with a receiver like NIU commit Ben Niemann, he's able to get used to the rest of the Spartans' receiving core.
“It gives me the chance to get used to the speed of everyone, and how fast everyone is," Mottet said. "Get used to their tendencies, where I need to put the ball for them to catch it. It’s a good experience for all of us out here."
Hooker played some defensive back and running back as a sophomore in 2012. With Austin Culton, last year's Daily Chronicle Player of the Year, off to join NIU's wrestling team, the speedy Hooker, who won a Class 2A state title in the 200-meter dash last month, could be key in the Spartans' backfield.
In a 7-on-7, Hooker has the chance to work on his hands and work on the intricacies of being a defensive back.
"Just getting used to what other receivers do," Hooker said. "Their techniques, and how to look at things."
He probably won't be able to get into a groove at running back until camp starts, as with a 7-on-7 there's only so much running backs can do, and in 7-on-7s defenses show things you wouldn't normally see during a game. Ryan mentioned that defenses will have their linebackers at 7 yards deep, and that he'd never run the ball if opposing units came out like that in a game.
For new varsity players or returnees like Hooker and Mottet, it's still a chance to get some valuable reps in.
"You want to be competitive," Hooker said. "But at the same time we're out here to have fun. You just want to have fun."