The current offseason has been one of Montgomery County varsity football head coach John Klekamp's busiest in recent years.
Trying to do all you can in a limited amount of time can be a rather daunting challenge, but rather than run from the problem the Wildcats ran over and through it by attending a camp at Hermann on June 16-17.
"On day one we faced Louisiana, Hermann and Clopton-Elsberry. Then on Day two we faced Cuba, Owensville and Louisiana," said Klekamp. "Our coaching staff felt like both days were successful as we are installing new concepts on both offense and defense. The main difference for every team between the two days as a lack of experience in the heat. Many players were sluggish. This is common during a summer camp, when teams are focusing on football and not necessarily conditioning."
The crux of this experience was three controlled scrimmages per night. Within that formula was a 30-minute time frame and a specific number of plays on both sides of the ball in helemts and shoulde pads followed by 20 minutes of play devoted to the JV. The only difference from Friday to Saturday was that on day two the varsity sessions were full-contact.
"The new offense is progressing nicely. The main focus for our program is to continue to build on the core of our running game. That starts at our youth level," Klekamp said. "We have a tremendous youth football program that's done a great job of working on successfully running the single wing. Although we are in spread formations and throwing the football more, at the heart of our offense is the power run game. We had consistent success running the football and throwing our quick passing game."
One aspect Klekamp and his staff will continue to stress heavily is time spent in the weight room. While these coaches also feel strongly about not running out of the gas at the end of a close contest, their approach to that issue is much less direct and includes the players having to run several hundred yards just to get from the locker room to the far end of the practice field.
"Our offensive line looked improved from last season and at the skill positions we were given the opportunity to watch multiple players make great plays," said Klekamp. "We will need to continue to improve on the timing of our plays in both the run and pass game, consistent execution and most importantly the overall conditioning of our football team. In order to run a successful spread football offense, players must be in top physical condition."
The other half of this attack for the Wildcats is looking to get faster, make the right defensive reads and gang tackle. Fortunately for Klekamp what he saw from his squad is just what he was hoping to see, including the defensive backs and linebackers exhibiting the ability to execute in the face of fierce opposition and defensive lineman making tackles for a loss.
"Defense is always much tougher in a camp setting, as it is almost impossible to prepare for the multiple offenses that you will see," Klekamp said. "When we approach a camp like this our main focus to get as many players to the ball as possible and play a fast and physical brand of football. As we watched film on this past weekend's camp, we were encouraged as we see a consistently better effort by our defensive unit in their intensity, movement to the ball, and overall ability to make more plays."