7-on-7 scrimmages give Woodburn a head start for fall season

by: PHOTO BY PHIL HAWKINS - Conan Baus shrugs off a two-hand tackle on Fridays scrimmage against McKay.There was no crack of helmets hitting pads on Friday at Woodburn High School, but the Bulldogs football team was hard at work regardless, taking on visiting McKay High School in a 7-on-7 scrimmage.

The pass drills at WHS were the third set of games the Bulldogs have played over the summer, starting with a three-game tournament at Silverton High School toward the end of June.

Since then, the Bulldogs have been hard at work practicing passing plays, working on receiving routes and preparing their defense for opposing teams this fall. In the past three weeks of play, coach Nick Federico has begun to see his team get comfortable on the field as the Bulldogs seek to find their key players for the 2013 season.

by: PHOTO BY PHIL HAWKINS - Miguel Salinas (left) and Daniel Molina converge on a McKay receiver five yards from the end zone.“From Silverton to McKay, we are much more fluid and much more smooth as a team,” said Federico. “We know where we need to be and how to play the game.”

The 7-on-7 games are extremely informal at best. Teams line up a quarterback, receivers and running backs and practice plays against opposing defenses composed of linebackers and defensive backs. Players are dressed in workout clothes only. The only football equipment present are cleats, gloves and occasional practice jerseys to denote which players are on what teams.

“There’s no contact,” said Federico, who has to observe OSAA rules that prohibit teams from playing more than 10 days of full-contact practice over the summer. “You can’t have any pads on, so this is kind of an alternative to keep the kids motivated.”

Despite the limitations, Federico is pleased to get his team on the field each week working on passing formations and defensive schemes. Although the Bulldogs are only working on a limited variety of plays, Federico and his coaching staff are able to see which players are most dedicated to the team and which athletes give Woodburn the best chance of success when the official season begins in August.

“It’s a good test to see who your athletes are,” said Federico. “The more you can see these kids in competitive situations and how they respond and how they react, the better it is for putting game plans together for Silverton and teams like that coming up each week.

by: PHOTO BY PHIL HAWKINS - Camilo Guizar pulls down a pass from Molina in the end zone to score for the Bulldogs.“That’s kind of how we look at it. It’s a great barometer to see how competitive and how bad do you want it.”

The scrimmages also act as a training period where the Bulldogs can try out different combinations of players at different positions in a non-practice environment. At the Silverton tournament, Camilo Guizar took the majority of snaps for Woodburn, but against McKay, the senior split time at the position with Daniel Molina.

“Going in, I thought Cam was my starting quarterback, but then he played receiver and he looked really good there,” said Federico. “It’s just what combination is going to work the best. What best 11 athletes can we get on the field at the same time, and this just helps us do that.”

Defensively, Federico admits it is more difficult to measure success. While on offense, the team can grade itself on how often and how quickly it finds the end zone, but on defense, the team can get away with not being as good and still be productive, he said.

“Defensively, teams are going to try to spread us out, so it’s always good to practice ‘Who do I have? Who is my threat? How do I align to this formation?’” he said.

As the team continues to play into July, the Bulldogs are nearing their practice limit before the OSAA week-long moratorium on summer play hits in the end of July.

“We’re kind of wrapping it up,” said Federico. “It’s coming down to the wire now and (we’re) just getting ready for August.”

The team will face North Salem on Wednesday evening before traveling to Salem Academy on Saturday morning to take part in another tournament. The Bulldogs will cap their July workouts on July 24 at McKay.

“It’s been very encouraging,” said Federico. “We continue to get new faces out there, and it has been a very good summer.”

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