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Barbs focus on passing game in 7-on-7s

Rob Winner –
DeKalb's Demetrios Collins catches a touchdown pass during a 7-on-7 game against Belvidere North at DeKalb High School on Monday, June 24, 2013.
Rob Winner – DeKalb's Demetrios Collins catches a touchdown pass during a 7-on-7 game against Belvidere North at DeKalb High School on Monday, June 24, 2013.
Photo Gallery: 7-on-7s at DeKalb

DeKALB – Generally, the triple option is looked upon as a run-dominant offense, and DeKalb will surely utilize their strength on the ground this year.

But when the Barbs hosted several teams for a 7-on-7 scrimmage Monday morning, the focus shifted to the passing game.

In coach Matt Weckler’s first season at the helm, he has wasted no time implementing his new system, and without being allowed to run Monday, his team showed that it will not be one-dimensional.

“Offensively, we still have a passing game,” Weckler said. “Just because we have a triple option doesn’t mean that we don’t pass the ball. We still run all of our sets, all of our passing plays that we have, and try to gain a little bit more timing with the quarterbacks and receivers and halfbacks and go through all our motions and and learn more about our offense. It’s kind of like a practice.”

The triple option is usually associated with the run, and DeKalb’s offense will certainly follow that trend. Still, the team must be able to move the ball through the air in order to keep defenses honest.

Weckler says that shouldn’t be an issue. Although the formations are designed for the run, they still give senior quarterback Jack Sauter plenty of passing options.

“We run double slot all the time,” Weckler said. “That’s our base formation. So basically, it’s a four-receiver set anyway, so when we’re doing the 7-on-7, it’s just like running the spread. The only thing is that we have the option to run the triple option out of it.”

Monday’s scrimmage was cut short, as two teams failed to show up due to the weather, but the Barbs still had time for plenty of reps. At this point, Weckler says it is just a learning process, and the focus isn’t on wins and losses.

That being said, the morning provided plenty of indications of improvements that need to be made. When asked what area needed the most attention, Sauter didn’t hesitate in his answer.

“Definitely discipline,” he said. “Coach Weckler doesn’t have much tolerance for standing around or being lackadaisical. Especially during practice, it’s a pretty good tempo, pretty fast-paced, and he doesn’t tolerate a whole lot of mistakes. So, we’ll be a whole lot more disciplined this year.”

Even though the season is a long way away, Weckler said that every day is important. He is looking for the 22 players who are the best at each position, so scrimmages like these are about rotating players to find what fits.

In that sense, Sauter was happy with what he saw. Several players were missing and a few others left with injuries, leaving room for younger players to get a chance, and the quarterback liked how his teammates responded.

“I liked how guys adapted,” he said. “We had a couple new guys come in on both offense and defense, and they came in and produced. Especially if you haven’t played a whole lot on the varsity level, 7-on-7 is still a whole different ballgame, a lot faster, and guys really came in and competed and played well.”

When a completely new system is introduced, it takes time for players to become comfortable with it. That’s why days like Monday are crucial, because it gives the DeKalb players the opportunity to become more experienced in the triple option.

Although the process can be frustrating, Weckler says that he can see his team getting better. Sauter says he likes the system as well, and he’s optimistic about the upcoming season.

“I love it so far, and I think the rest of the team does, too,” Sauter said. “It’s real versatile, and I don’t see us being a one-dimensional team. We’ll be able to run and pass, even though this is a run-dominant offense. With all our athletes, we’re really going to be able to utilize our talent this year.”

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