A large number of referees came to town on Saturday, Aug. 10, as the Enterprise Wildcats capped off their first week of fall camp with a scrimmage.
The scrimmage, along with giving the Wildcats a chance for live action, gave EHS coaches a chance to communicate with officials, as well.
“It was good to have referees out there,” Enterprise coach Rick Darlington said. “We were able to clarify some things rules wise, which was good.”
While Darlington said it’s difficult to gauge just where his Wildcats are at this early in camp, he certainly saw room for improvement.
“It’s hard to see a difference between summer and fall in that first week,” he said. “Until you put on pads you really can’t tell anything and we just had a couple of days in pads so far.
“I’m still seeing a lot of things we have to get better at on both sides of the ball, though. It’s all about fundamentals right now.”
One thing the Wildcats seemed to have improved on already is tackling on defense, however.
“They’re getting better and now that we can have pads on we can actually tackle and take players to the ground (in practice),” Darlington said. “To be a good tackler you have to be able to actually tackle. You have to be able to simulate what you see in a game and can’t do that until you’re in pads.”
Darlington said that he isn’t worried about his team’s grasp of the offensive or defensive schemes the Wildcats are running, but is more concentrated on getting the fundamentals down as the season opener creeps near.
“Everything we have to work on is fundamentals right now,” he emphasized. “We’ve been doing it since March, so we really don’t have to work on the schemes.
“The knowledge is there but we have to make sure the technique and fundamentals are there, too. That’s what wins football games. It’s all about the fundamentals and effort.”
On the offensive side, Darlington pointed to the offensive line as being a focus for a needed improvement with consistency.
“The offensive line has to get better,” he flatly said. “They have a long way to go but they will get there. I know that. We have a lot of really good coaches working with them.
“We have four seniors right now on the line – I don’t know if it will remain like that – but those guys have been in games and know what they’re going to see on Friday nights.”
Darlington also pointed to the linebacker corps as a spot that the coaching staff is working hard to improve.
“Linebacker play is something we have to get more consistent at for sure,” Darlington said. “We also have to build depth in the secondary, but linebacker is definitely a question mark right now, too.”
Special teams is a part of the game that Darlington thinks could have a big impact for the Wildcats in 2019.
“We have to find some points on special teams with some of these teams we play,” Darlington said.
While returning Elite 11 athlete Josh McCray will likely handle most of the return duties in 2019 and is always dangerous with the ball in his hand, Darlington emphasized importance on simply fielding the ball on punt returns.
“The thing about returning punts to me is just catching the ball,” Darlington said. “I don’t care if you fair catch every one of them just catch it. You don’t want that hidden yardage of the ball bouncing and rolling down the field (on punts).”