What do coaches look for at scrimmages?

The one and only time grid outfits have the opportunity to test themselves against an opposing set of players is the scrimmage in the weekend preceding opening day. The consensus among most coaches is to get through that day injury free, while also evaluating players. “We kept it pretty basic on offense,” said Greene coach Tim Paske. “We switched some personnel around and did better in certain places than others. Our evaluation process is to find the top 11 kids that should be on the field.”

The doors have opened in scrimmages this year for scouting and filming, a change from standard protocol. It was an unwritten rule in the past to not film or scout an upcoming opponent during a scrimmage. “We didn’t what to show any more than we had to or tip our hand in any way,” said Unadilla Valley head coach Jack Loeffler. “We knew people were there taping us, so we ran our most basic stuff on offense and defense.”

For Oxford head coach Mike Chrystie, it was his first experience as a head coach where his players had full contact against someone other than another Blackhawks player. “We just wanted to get our live work in and come home healthy,” Chrystie said. “We don’t have the depth this year, so we need to stay healthy.”

On the flip side of Chrystie is Chenango County’s most veteran coach, Norwich’s John Pluta, who has two decades on the sidelines with the Tornado in addition to his previous tenure at Harpursville. Pluta has a number of younger players that are expected to play key roles on his team. Facing Walton, primarily, it was a great opportunity for Pluta’s boys to see what varsity football is truly about. “(The scrimmage) gives the younger kids an idea of what they need to work on and the idea that they are coming into a whole new level,” the Norwich coach said. “There are some things you want to work on and things people know you’re going to run. With the new rules allowing taping of scrimmages, I don’t think coaches are apt to show as much.”

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